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Colorado National Guard Education Foundation helps pay tuition through tough times

The Colorado National Guard Education Foundation Board and several members of the CONG family enjoyed breakfast together and recognized this fall's tuition assistance award recipients at the Denver Renaissance Hotel Sept. 17. (U.S. Air Force Photo / SMSgt John Rohrer)

The Colorado National Guard Education Foundation Board and several members of the CONG family enjoyed breakfast together and recognized this fall's tuition assistance award recipients at the Denver Renaissance Hotel Sept. 17. (U.S. Air Force Photo / SMSgt John Rohrer)

DENVER, Colo. -- Eighteen family members of Colorado Air and Army National Guard service members were given $25,500 in tuition assistance awards on Saturday, Sept. 17, 2011 at the Denver Renaissance Hotel.

The awards, ranging from $750 to $3,000, were presented to CONG dependants, ages 17 to 24, based on merit and need, and will enable the recipients to begin or continue their education.

The Colorado National Guard Education Foundation was founded in 2004 and strives to provide counseling and tuition assistance to over six thousand military families in Colorado. Since March 2005, the foundation has awarded $272,750 in tuition assistance to family members who otherwise would have little to no State or Federal education benefits available to them.

Over the past ten years of war, members of the National Guard have faced unique challenges and difficult times with multiple deployments, resulting disabilities and an unstable job market upon their return home, explained Mr. Bernie Rogoff, executive director of the Education Foundation.

"One of our greatest challenges is enlightening our military audience and those in the civilian sector who are not knowledgeable about our six thousand Colorado National Guard families and the sacrifices made by these families since 9/11," Rogoff said.

"Money we provide a dependant relieves a family of stress and enables them to remain part of the community," he explained.

As the main operating member of the Education Foundation Board, Rogoff is responsible for fundraising strategies and plans to continue providing financial assistance to as many applicants as possible.

"To date, 81 percent of applicants have received grants," he said.

To apply, applicants must be enrolled in a verifiable college or training program, submit a resume which displays extracurricular activities and any exceptional initiatives taken beyond simply attending classes, submit a letter from a community leader attesting to the applicant's character, and provide proof of military dependant status and financial need, Rogoff explained.

The awards are presented semi-annually, as money becomes available, coinciding with traditional fall and spring semesters.

For more information about the CONG Education Foundation, "Like" them on facebook, www.facebook.com/EFCONG and visit the Web site at www.EFCONG.org.