Change would make more eligible for McFadden Scholarships



March 16, 2017 - 12:00 AM

A proposed change to one of the most prominent scholarships available to Allen County high-schoolers could open the door to more students.

A petition filed in District Court on behalf of the William Preston and McFadden Scholarship Fund would allow students to accrue community college credits and still be eligible.

“A substantial change in the high school education process of concurrent classes … has disqualified a majority of students from being able to receive” a McFadden scholarship, the petition reads.

The petition will be heard April 25 by Magistrate Judge Tod Davis. The petition was filed by Iola attorney Chuck Apt, on behalf of First Option Bank, trustee for the McFadden estate. 

The scholarship was established in 1989  from the will of Jack E. McFadden, who wished to recognize students who excelled in academia and extracurricular activities.

The scholarship is for students who wish to attend a Kansas Regents university, but bans those who have attended a community college previously. The six Regents universities are Pittsburg State, Emporia State, Fort Hays State, Wichita State, Kansas State and the University of Kansas. 

Petitioners claim the current educational atmosphere, particularly with the skyrocketing cost to attend a four-year university, has made earning concurrent credits an increasingly popular option for high school students.

Concurrent classes are those in which high-schoolers earn both high school and community college credits at the same time. The classes are geared to provide students a more challenging course load that prepares them for higher learning.

Concurrent classes have grown so popular that only two of the 83 Iola High seniors this year are eligible for a McFadden scholarship, “mostly due to the community college standard,” the petition notes. 

Those trends are likely to continue making fewer and fewer students eligible for the scholarship. Similar trends are evident at Humboldt and Marmaton Valley high schools as well.

The trust requires that at least two scholarships be issued annually, for at least one male and female student.

First Option Bank, designated as a trustee for the McFadden Trust, said in the petition “the present education practice as it exists was not or could not have been anticipated” when the scholarship fund was first established.

“The trustee further believes that given the present educational atmosphere that the present terms of the William Preston and Belvah McFadden Trust as it relates to community college attendance will make it impractical, wasteful or continue to impair the Trustees’ ability to properly administer the trust.”


THE SCHOLARSHIP fund was established by Jack E. McFadden and was named after his parents, William and Belvah.

Jack McFadden attended schools in Iola before earning his degree at the University of Kansas. He also served in Vietnam, where an airplane accident left him a paraplegic.