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Back to school, with some much-appreciated financial help!

Shanna Naider 2016
Shanna Naider holds up her check with pride.

Monday, July 25th marked a local celebration of accomplishment and the future promise of a new generation of college students. The Central Scholarship & Loan Referral Service (CSLRS) program of the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh, administered by Jewish Family & Children’s Service (JF&CS), held their annual scholarship check distribution event at the JCC. 

CSLRS enables Jewish students seeking financial aid to apply for many different scholarships with one application. This year CSLRS awarded about $430,000 to nearly 200 area Jewish students.

The evening program was brief but the atmosphere was buzzing with anticipation. Student recipients, many accompanied by their proud parents, listened to speakers from the CSLRS Committee, and Woody Ostrow, Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh, Immediate Past Chair/Foundation Chair, before the distribution began. Carolyn Gerecht, Director of Teen Learning at the JCC and this year’s guest speaker, spoke warmly about some of the adventures and discoveries of her own college years not so many years ago, and reminded students heading off to college to make the most of their education, and not just in the classroom. The very important connection was made between receiving this aid and “paying it forward” by giving back to the community.

Shanna Naider, on her way back to graduate school this fall, happily posed for a picture holding her envelope up with a big smile. “I am proud,” she said. “I’ve worked very hard for my education. I am so looking forward to returning to grad school and this award really helps.”

This year actually marks the 50th year for CSLRS, the largest Jewish scholarship program in the nation. Each year, scholarship aid has been awarded to Jewish students in this region with demonstrable financial need who attend accredited institutions of higher education. At least two-year residency is required in Allegheny, Beaver, Butler, Washington or Westmoreland counties.

Applications for the 2017-2018 academic year will open in November. Potential applicants should regularly visit the CSLRS website for updates and important information about the application process. Only one online application is necessary to apply. Any Jewish high school senior or student enrolled in an undergraduate, graduate or technical school with financial need can apply to CSLRS.

The Jewish Federation, JF&CS, and the CSLRS organizations are committed to helping local Jewish students pursue advanced education by easing the financial burden. The CSLRS program represents an outstanding example of how the Pittsburgh region’s Jewish community has come together and supported the next generation and their critical need for advanced education to succeed in today’s world.

p.s. Here another scholarship to consider, not a CSLRS-related fund but also open to Jewish students. Holocaust survivors Sara and Max Goldsammler dedicated their lives to empowering the next generation of young adults. In their honor, OU Alumni is sponsoring a Sara and Max Goldsammler scholarship to go towards college tuition. Any high school senior or current Jewish college student for the 2016-17 school year can apply! First place, $1,000; second place, $500; third place, $300. Essay required: see the application here. Deadline is August 10th, 2016.