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New London - More than 200 local students heading to college won awards totaling nearly half a million dollars from the Community Foundation of Eastern Connecticut, the nonprofit announced Thursday.
More than 500 students in eastern Connecticut applied for scholarship money - a new record and indicative of the difficulty families are having in paying for college, said Mary Seidner, chairwoman of the foundation's Scholarship Committee.
"As a group of dedicated volunteers, the committee recognizes the merit and hard work of each student so it is hard when we are unable to help over half of the applicants," Seidner said in a statement. "We hope this will inspire others with the interest and means to create their own scholarship funds so we can support an even greater number of students hoping to attend college."
In all, 206 students received scholarships totaling about $440,000. That's 18 percent more money than was available last year, the foundation said.
"It is a joy for the foundation to bring to fruition our donors' wishes to provide greater access to higher education for aspiring young people in our region," said Maryam Elahi, president and chief executive of the foundation.
The majority of the funds and scholarships went to students in southeastern Connecticut, which had 184 winners getting nearly $418,000.
A dozen students in the Norwich area received more than $11,000, while 10 students from the Windham area got a similar amount.
For a complete list of winners, visit www.cfect.org/Scholarships/2014CommunityFoundationScholarshipWinners/tabid/284/Default.aspx.