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Scholarship Program for High-Achieving Students Looking for Rural Applicants

A scholarship program targeting gifted rural youth is having a tough time finding 40 qualified students for its summer program.

The Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth plans to serve 120 low-income seventh- through ninth graders over the three-year scholarship program, Rural Connections. Gifted rural students who qualify will attend a three-week residential Center for Talented Youth program at one of two dozen sites across the country. There, they take rigorous courses on college campuses.

Education Week profiled the program when it launched last year, and organizers said it's been difficult finding students this year.

They've tried to spread the word about the scholarship (they have handed out hundreds of fliers to schools, talked to rural teachers educators, and visited rural schools) but it's a struggle to reach eligible children, officials said.

"Schools in rural areas are not only smaller than urban schools, they are also less likely to be aware of [the center] and other resources that are available for gifted students," said Kimberly Lohrfink, program director for Rural Connections.

Other rural families are interested in keeping their children closer to home, she said.

Last year, the program enrolled 42 rural students from 18 states. Their average family income was $26,685. Students who qualify will come from families who make $45,000 or less and test above their grade level.

The deadline to apply is March 31. For more information, call Lohrfink at (410) 735-6236 or e-mail her RuralConnections@jhu.edu.

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