CFNEIA Awards $635,781 in Scholarships, Largest Amount in its History

Benton County Students Receive Scholarships

Oct. 31, 2022 – Two Benton County students pursuing higher education opportunities have received financial assistance this fall thanks to scholarships from the Benton County Community Foundation and its host foundation, the Community Foundation of Northeast Iowa (CFNEIA). These scholarships totaling $3,500 are part of CFNEIA’s largest total scholarship award amount in its 66-year history. This year, CFNEIA awarded 277 scholarships totaling $635,781 to students across Iowa with an average award amount of $2,295.

Gabe Hanson graduated from Union High School and received the Donna R. Hickman and Greg Hickman Scholarship. Hanson is attending Lakeland College to major in agriculture. Bailey Weeks is a graduate of Vinton-Shellsburg High School and was awarded the Marlyn and Ann Jorgensen Family Scholarship. Weeks is attending Southwestern Oklahoma State University and is majoring in agriculture business.

“Congratulations to these students on their accomplishments and all the best as they continue their educational journey to follow their dreams and path for a successful future,” said Amy Wiles, CFNEIA scholarship and grant manager.

Scholarships are increasingly important for students seeking higher education. According to a 2021 National Student Clearinghouse survey, nearly 42% of adults aged 20-34 dropped out of college due to financial reasons.

“We know the cost of higher education continues to be a barrier, making scholarships a critical support for many students’ continued success,” said Wiles. “CFNEIA is committed to continuing to increase this scholarship support for students with a particular emphasis on financial need, and we know our work would not be possible without the generous fundholders who are passionate about education and our next generation of leaders.”

CFNEIA scholarships are offered annually for high school seniors and college students, as well as adults, and are awarded based on various criteria, including, but not limited to, academic excellence, financial need, pursuit of certain careers or majors, past experiences and location or high school attended. The 2023 scholarship process will begin on January 10. CFNEIA is the largest independent scholarship provider in Iowa outside of colleges and universities.

For more information on CFNEIA’s scholarship program, visit Questions may be directed to Amy Wiles at or (319) 243-1359.

More information about the Benton County Community Foundation can be found at

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