Last Dollar Scholarship funding college for hundreds of eastern Iowans

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PEOSTA, Iowa (KCRG) -- Students attending eastern Iowa community colleges have received more than two and a half million dollars through a state scholarship fund.

Paramedic student Taylor Guthrie received a Last Dollar Scholarship to attend school at Northeast Iowa Community College. (Charlie Grant, KCRG)

Iowa's Last Dollar Scholarship was set up to fill the gaps for students whose federal and state grants don't cover the entire cost of tuition. It's available to high school graduates and adult learners who are pursuing a career in an in-demand field, such as welding, nursing, or computer technology.

Kirkwood Community College said 739 of its students received a Last Dollar Scholarship for the Fall semester, amounting to almost $815,000. Four hundred and three Northeast Iowa Community College students received $538,000 in scholarships for the Fall. Hawkeye Community College awarded 450 students scholarships for the entire year, amounting to $1.2 million.

NICC Paramedic student Taylor Guthrie received a scholarship that covered almost all of her $3,000 tuition.

"I definitely would've struggled to become a paramedic and even just be in the program if I didn't have the scholarship," she said.

She knows she's entering a field that's looking for many more employees, and she's excited to be filling a need.

"Once you get your paramedic there are multiple opportunities," Guthrie said. "I could go with Dubuque Fire, I could with Cedar Rapids Fire, I could just work as a paramedic."

NICC Enrollment Operations Assistant Director Jennifer Rupp said it's made a difference in students' lives.

She said, "They actually think it's too good to be true. So they're quite surprised when they find out that it could be zero cost for them to attend an in-demand program here at NICC."

Guthrie wants to thank people who made this scholarship possible.

"The Last Dollar Scholarship made it possible for me to pursue my dream and become a paramedic and without that, I don't think I could actually be in the program and be as successful as I am," she said.