ISSA Scholars

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By Sandy Wolfrum | December 20, 2021 << Back to Articles ISSA Scholars

The burden of college tuition has grown substantially over the last decade. The average tuition, fees, and room and board expenses increased 1% and 2% for public and private institutions, respectively, in just the past year. Now, students owe an average of over US$22,000 per year while attending public universities and over $50,000 annually for private universities. In many cases, students must rely on student loans to cover costs. Unfortunately, student loan debt has reached a cumulative $1.7 trillion in the United States.

To help relieve the burden of tuition, ISSA Scholars provides financial aid to students with connections to the cleaning industry. While receiving critical support to achieve their career goals, recipients are exposed to growing opportunities in the cleaning industry.


Providing aid to our future leaders

When Jakarta Robinson heard about ISSA Scholars from her father, an art director at Maintex, she decided to apply to alleviate the burden of college on herself and her parents. “Financial aid helps create a less stressful future for any college student,” said Robinson, studying business administration at the University of Southern California. “I wanted to help my parents, who are in turn helping minimize the debt I’ll face in the future by paying a portion of my tuition.” After applying, Robinson was awarded the Southern California Sanitary Supply Association Scholarship.

Kaylee Wagner also learned about ISSA Scholars through her father’s job. Watching his career at ISSA and then at Triple S over the years, Wagner grew up understanding the importance of cleaning. Her father encouraged her to apply to ISSA Scholars to achieve her goal of studying chemistry at the University of South Carolina. “I’ve always known that cleaning is really important through my dad’s work,” explained Wagner, “and I think the cleaning industry has only become more essential. I applied to this scholarship once I learned how it emphasizes the importance of the cleaning industry.” Wagner received the Richard H. Jarden Scholarship to pursue her studies.

Brandon Salas spotted a flyer for ISSA Scholars while working with his father at the Hyatt Regency Lake Tahoe. “I needed financial aid to be able to pay for college,” said Salas. “Receiving this scholarship is a huge relief to my family.” Salas was awarded the Edward Lane National Sanitary Supply Co. Scholarship and is studying mechanical engineering at the University of San Diego.

Making an impact

Winning scholarships outside of federal financial aid can make the difference for many families determining whether college is affordable. Although the average cost of public institutions is over $22,000 per year, the average federal grant amount each student receives is approximately $5,000 annually. To make up for this gap, many students turn to scholarships from private organizations.

Salas experienced this need firsthand. “College education is super expensive and a huge financial burden for my family,” said Salas. “This scholarship has allowed me to pursue my dreams, and I will be forever grateful for that opportunity.” Similarly, receiving her scholarship gave Robinson a huge sigh of relief. “Not only is my learning experience less stressful,” added Robinson, “but accumulating less debt means my future is less stressful, too.”

The support meant more than relieving debt, however. “This scholarship means a lot,” Robinson said. “It’s a motivator to study hard knowing people are willing to invest in my success.” Wagner was excited to win the scholarship because it reflects the importance of the cleaning industry. “More than the financial aspect, I’ve seen how seriously my dad takes cleaning and the cleaning industry, and I believe I should do the same,” she explained.

Understanding how COVID-19 changed the world

Students had a unique experience in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, having to experience months of their formative years attending online classes and being separated from friends. Despite the challenges, these scholarship recipients shared a newfound appreciation for the impact of cleaning on our health and safety. “This pandemic enlightened me on the ways in which germs and viruses spread, and thus what hygiene and safety measures would be most effective to create a clean, safe environment,” said Robinson.

Salas personally experienced the increase in cleaning measures following the onset of COVID-19. “While working at Hyatt Regency Lake Tahoe, we had to ensure all tables, towels, seats, and more were sanitized and safe for others to use,” he explained. “The COVID-19 pandemic has made me realize the importance of cleaning and hygiene, not only to prevent spreading the virus, but for our health in general.”

Looking to the future

Once they complete their undergraduate degrees, today’s students hope to channel their studies into fields they are passionate about. Despite studying online for the last year, Robinson has loved exploring her interest in marketing and wishes to use her marketing skills for a company whose values and subject matter interest her.

Salas intends to pursue a master’s degree in mechanical engineering and study space and ocean exploration. After completing her degree, Wagner hopes to pursue medical school and become a pediatrician or perform medical research in a lab. “This scholarship means a lot to me, and I would like to thank the donors for making this possible.”


Making dreams possible

“I’m thankful for all your help,” said Robinson, “for the scholarship, but also for the way the cleaning industry has managed to save so many lives and keep so many people safe from not just COVID-19, but from other illnesses, too. Thank you for everything you do. We can’t be a safe, healthy, successful society without our cleaning industry’s products and people.”

With the help of generous sponsors, ISSA Scholars has provided nearly $4 million in financial aid to over 1,000 college and university students who demonstrate merit and leadership potential. Consider supporting the next generation of scholars today.



About the Author.

Sandy Wolfrum is the Director of Development for ISSA Charities. You can reach her at [email protected].