In an effort to increase fair access to scholarship funds, the Clinton County Development Association board of directors voted Wednesday to change how the organization’s $1,000 scholarships are distributed among the county’s seven high schools.

In previous years, graduating seniors in the county would vie for three scholarships per school.

The restructuring was proposed at the February meeting of the organization, as members pointed out that the 20 or so graduating seniors at Clinton’s Lincoln High School face significantly shorter odds than the 300 or so students graduating from Clinton High School. Board director Jerome Burken said that not considering student population would be unfair to students at larger schools.

“I think it would be more fair, as much as we like to see the students have (the scholarships),” said Burken, in February.

Strictly using population of schools as a factor, Clinton High School would receive eight or nine scholarships, while smaller schools would only receive the minimum of one.  With the deadline scholarship letters approaching, board members had to decide whether class size would be the sole determining factor. They also discussed raising the scholarship amount to $1,500, and reducing the number of awards distributed.

Ultimately, the board determined that a tiered approach would be used for this upcoming round of scholarships. The two biggest schools in the county, Clinton High School and Central DeWitt High School, will each have five $1,000 scholarships to distribute. The three schools with the smallest populations, Lincoln High School, Prince of Peace High School and Calamus-Wheatland High School, will only have one $1,000 scholarship to distribute. And the schools that fall in the middle, Northeast High School and Camanche High School, will each have three $1,000 scholarships to distribute.

Board members said distribution could be re-examined next year. Both colleges in the county, Ashford University and Clinton Community College, will receive two $1,000 scholarships each to hand out, unchanged from recent years.