Phoebe Jarmon, a junior at Radford University studying Psychology, attended Monticello High School Credit: Submitted photo

Two area residents have received the National Affordable Housing Management Association’s Education Foundation scholarship for 2017.

Phoebe Jarmon and Emma Umberger, both residents of the Treesdale Park community in Albemarle County, are among 130 recipients of this year’s national scholarship grant.

“I definitely didn’t apply thinking I was going to win anything, so this was quite a pleasant surprise,” said Jarmon, a junior at Radford University who attended Monticello High School and is studying psychology.

For Jarmon, the scholarship came at an ideal time. “This particular year, Radford’s tuition actually went up about $2,000,” she said. “So, that would have meant, if I didn’t get the scholarship, I would have had to take out another loan.”

For both students, the scholarship has been applied toward tuition, helping them stay on track with their academic and long-term pursuits. Each individual scholarship is worth $2,500 and a total of $325,000 was awarded nationally this year. Recipients were chosen from more than 360 applicants across the country.

Jarmon and Umberger were notified of the scholarship application by Ashley Kantruss of Park Properties Management Co., which manages Treesdale, a subsidized apartment complex on East Rio Road.

“We are always looking for ways to support our residents,” Kantruss said, “so we made sure all our properties had access to this application.”

Umberger, a freshman at Virginia Commonwealth University who attended Albemarle High School, is planning to major in graphic design.

“The essay was the biggest part [of the application]. It was the part where they can see who you are and why you want the scholarship,” recalled Umberger. She said it was also the part of the application that required the most thought and effort.

For Jarmon, the most challenging component was getting together a series of references. Radford professors Laura Fehr in the English department and Erik Sorensen in the math department answered the call. Jarmon said she is particularly grateful for their help in securing the scholarship.

“This is the first time I’ve won a scholarship, and I just really appreciated [their help],” she said. “It’s rare to find professors to find your face in a sea of people … and [for them] to have nice things to say about you.”

Kantruss said Park Properties was pleased to discover two of its residents had been chosen.

Jarmon recalled opening her letter of acceptance with her mother. “I was so excited. We were both so excited,” she said.

Umberger said “it was great” to find out she had been awarded the grant to help pay tuition.

To be eligible for the scholarship, applicants must be residents in good standing at a regional Affordable Housing Management Association-affiliated multi-family community, according to Jennifer Jones, spokeswoman for the national association. Additionally, applicants must be either a student at an accredited community college, college, university or trade/technical school with a minimum 2.3 GPA or be a high school senior with a minimum 2.5 GPA.

NAHMA’s Education Foundation, which organizes and provides the scholarship, is a nonprofit created in 1994. According to Jones, the foundation’s mission is to “assist residents of federally subsidized housing as they strive to enhance their lives, job opportunities and children’s futures.”

Since its inception in 2006, the scholarship program has distributed more than $1.25 million in grants. This year’s recipients come from 25 different states and represent 12 different regional Affordable Housing Management Associations. This year, the scholarship program set a record for the number of applications received, the number of scholarships awarded and the amount of money allocated to recipients.

The program began at the local level in 1986 with AHMA Pacific-Southwest in Los Angeles. This and similar programs combined on a national scale in 2007 to offer residents at AHMA-affiliated properties in all 50 states with scholarship opportunities through the NAHMA Education Foundation.