Students still waiting on Doyle Scholarships

James L. Alban, Staff Writer

The Doyle Scholarship will continue to be suspended through the 2010-2011 school year.

The scholarship was first discontinued at the start of 2009 when Exchange Bank suspended dividends. The Frank P. Doyle Trust is the largest shareholder of Exchange Bank, receiving about 51 percent of dividends. Up until 2009, the bank’s dividends had been funding students for the last 59 years, providing nearly 115,000 scholarships.

“New Doyles will come back when the dividends come back,” said Kristin Shear, director of the Student Financial Services.

There were no scholarships given to returning SRJC students this year, but there were enough funds to give scholarships in 2010-2011 to students who graduated high school in 2008-2009, Shear said.

When funding was available, the Doyle provided nearly $6 million annually in financial aid to students.

“It’s unfortunate the bank doesn’t have any more funding for the students,” said Eric Enos, an SRJC student and former Doyle scholarship recipient. “The Doyle wasn’t much, but it was enough to pay for your tuition, and now that it’s gone, students have to apply for other scholarships and find other means to pay for their education.”

SRJC also offers a similar scholarship to graduating high school seniors called Bridging the Doyle. The funding for the scholarships comes from dividends and independent contributions. Under the same umbrella as the original Doyle, Bridging the Doyle offered about 525 scholarships last fall to the graduating class of 2009, but the future of the scholarship is still in question.

As for the return of the Doyle, it depends on Exchange Bank’s financial recovery.

“Once the bank resumes dividends, then the trust will issue distributions for scholarships,” Shear said.

Students will be able to reapply for the Doyle depending on when and how much funding the school receives. Until then, SRJC students should not expect to receive Doyle scholarships anytime soon.