Last class for college award

HANCOCK – When Jenna Ollanketo attended Hancock Central High School, she was certain she would leave the area to go to college. “I was set on moving away,” she said.

But that’s not what happened.

Ollanketo, who graduated from HCHS in 2014, said things didn’t work out with the university she wanted to attend.

After realizing she couldn’t attend the university that was her first choice, Ollanketo said she decided to look into attending Finlandia University using the Hancock Award. At first she thought she would get some general education classes, then leave after two years to another institution, but she changed her mind.

“Now, I don’t plan to leave,” she said.

The Hancock Award is part of an agreement made when Finlandia took possession of the former Hancock Middle School building on Quincy Street and the former Condon Field. Now MacAfee Field, the site was where Hancock High played football. In exchange for Finlandia taking possession, the university provided a “tuition remission” for students of Hancock Public Schools who meet Finlandia’s entrance requirements.

Ollanketo said she’s seeking a bachelor of business administration at Finlandia.

Fredi DeYampert, Finlandia vice president for academic and student affairs, said the first HCHS cohort to receive the Hancock Award attended Finlandia for the 2009-10 school year.

The 2020 HCHS senior class will be the last incoming group, and the award is scheduled to end in 2024.

DeYampert said HCHS students aren’t limited to the degrees they seek in order to receive the Hancock Award.

“They can come to the two-year degree programs or the four-year degree programs,” she said.

Travis Hanson, Finlandia director of admissions, said the tuition for the 2016-17 school year is $22,258. The Hancock Award is for tuition only – not for books, program fees or other associated costs.

Hanson said the university determines each year how much money is available for the award.

“Most of the time, there are more students than that fills,” he said.

If that is the case, Hanson said students may have to pay more than they would normally pay.

“All Hancock Award students pay our general fee,” he said. “The general fee is $500 a year.”

DeYampert said as of this year’s incoming freshman class, 169 HCHS students have received the Hancock Award.

“We average about 21 incoming students every fall,” she said.

Karyn Ruohonen, Hancock middle school and high school counselor, said students receive a letter from Finlandia in their junior year. In their senior year, a representative of the university comes to the school to talk about the award.

“(Students are) encouraged to apply,” she said.