Georgia Rotary Student Program Facts

WHO WE ARE:

We are the Georgia Rotary Student Program (GRSP) founded in 1946 after WWII, an idea of PDG Will Watt of Thomasville. It was his dream that students from war-torn Europe, eager for peace, could come to the US and study in colleges and universities and learn about the American way of life. The first class consisted of four students; the class of 2008 consists of 66 and we are proud to have over 3,100 alumni from all over the world. We are a project of all the Rotary Districts in the State of Georgia. There is no other Program like ours in the entire Rotary World.

 

WHAT WE DO:

We offer scholarships to international students to come and study at the university level in the state of Georgia for one academic year beginning August and ending the following May.

 

WHERE APPLICANTS COME FROM:

We send out information to District Governors and Rotary Clubs throughout the Rotary World. We have former students in countries who solicit candidates for us. Information is also distributed in Anaheim by the District Governors from our state. The website has also been a great tool for inquiries about our scholarships.

 

WHO CAN APPLY:

An applicant must be 18 but not 25 by August 1 of the year they begin Fall Semester with GRSP, cannot have studied in the US for longer than four months and they must be single.

 

WHAT WE ARE:

ONE YEAR, NON-DEGREE SEEKING PROGRAM – Our program’s aim is to promote world peace and understanding through the means of education. Some students do remain in the US after their GRSP year, at their own expense, to obtain a degree. We have no obligation to support them, nor do we have any control over them forcing them to go home.

AMBASSADORIAL SCHOLARSHIP – However, students must carry a full load of subjects and maintain good academic standing in school. Students sign a permission form releasing transcripts to GRSP that become a part of their file.

 

WHAT WE ARE NOT:

EXCHANGE PROGRAM – No US Student goes to another country in exchange for an international student in Georgia. In the broadest sense, however, we do exchange cultures and make lasting friendships.

NEEDS-BASED SCHOLARSHIP – Students must pay their transportation to and from the US, purchase medical insurance, provide proof of access to 3,000.00 spending money while in the US, and pay any taxes imposed on the scholarship money by the US Government. Indigent students cannot finance this amount of money.

ACADEMIC SCHOLARSHIP – Students must meet the entrance criteria for the school they are chosen to attend but students are not selected merely on academic performance.

 

HOW STUDENTS ARE CHOSEN:

A book of one-page summaries of each applicant is sent to the President-elect of each Rotary Club in the State. The Clubs choose the student they wish to sponsor as well as the school the student will attend. The GRSP office has nothing whatsoever to do with selecting students. We do make sure the student selected meets the admission criteria at the school they have been chosen to attend. Any Club who wishes to sponsor a student is allowed to do so. Sometimes more than one Club will go together to sponsor a student. The selection process is one that is fair and everyone whose commitment form is in the office by the specified deadline is eligible to choose in the first round. In the case of multiple Clubs choosing a student as their first choice, Trustees from the Clubs literally have a draw. In the case of a student having only one Club choose them as a first choice, that student automatically goes to that Club. Clubs who do not get their commitment forms in by the specified deadline are allowed to choose in the second round.

 

WHAT THE ROLE OF THE HOST FAMILY IS:

Students are required to live on campus but have the local support of host families in each club. A good relationship between host and student is vital to making our program work. Ideally any problems that may arise can be solved with the help of the host family. The Host Family is literally the students USA Family and should treat their student as they would their own child. Host families begin communicating with the student immediately after the student’s acceptance into school. They tell the student when to come, meet them at the airport, allow them to stay in their home prior to moving into the dorm and assist them with that move. They invite them “home” on weekends, call them, and establish a good relationship with them. Clubs and Host Families do not have any financial obligation to the student beyond the amount they pay to GRSP for their pledge.

 

WHERE THE MONEY COMES FROM:

GRSP has two accounts – an Endowment Fund Account and an operating account. Contributions to the endowment go directly into the endowment account and no money is ever withdrawn from the corpus, only earnings are used to supplement the cost to host clubs. Also, each Rotary District contributes $7.00 per Rotarian based on the membership as of April 30 of each year. Rotary Clubs pledge to pay the amount needed to support their student as listed on the financial statistical table. Club pledge payments and per capita dues go into the operating account and this money pays the students’ costs plus operating costs of the home office. GRSP supplements each club with funds provided by the earnings from the Endowment in an amount determined by the trustees annually. In addition to tuition, GRSP scholarships cover the cost of room, board, and $450.00/semester for books.

 

HOW WE ARE RUN:

We have a Chair, Vice-Chair, each District has a Chair and there are Trustees who are in charge of various responsibilities, and sit on many different committees that work to carry out the business of the Program. All men and women within this structure receive no compensation at all for their time, nor are they reimbursed for any expenses incurred while attending the three scheduled meetings each year.

 

WHAT TRUSTEES DO:

The Trustee is the liaison between the club and the home office and is the vital link that keeps GRSP running smoothly. Trustees are responsible for knowing their students, the host families, and the club presidents and making sure that the students are being cared for in an acceptable manner. It is also their responsibility to promote GRSP at the Club level and encourage the Clubs to give to the Endowment. Trustees play a major role in the student selection process by working with the individual clubs to makes sure they have their commitment forms in the home office by the deadline.

 

WHAT THE HOME OFFICE DOES:

The GRSP Home Office is located in Savannah, Georgia. Janis Comer, administrator, and Barbara Lariscy, assistant administrator, are the only two paid employees in the program. The Home Office receives and posts all monies received both into the endowment and the operating accounts; maintains endowment reports and generates all awards; bills clubs; pays all bills associated with the students and the operating expenses; maintains computer records on students, trustees and clubs; maintains contact with the colleges and universities; plans and prints information for all three Trustee meetings each year; sends out GRSP Information around the world; processes 200 plus applications each year and sends out the book of summaries; gets 80+ students into colleges and universities around the state each fall; does monthly financial statements for operating and endowment budgets; sends out all correspondence to trustees, clubs, host families and students and receives all from the same. The Administrator attends three Trustee meetings a year and three District Conferences.