For the last two weeks, many in the Lowcountry have been consumed by high school graduations.

One grandparent said she had to go to three graduations in one day and then one the next day at 8:30 a.m. I went to one myself for my nephew.

But with graduation comes college for many. And college means money.

While some have been saving for the occasion — some for as long as 17 or 18 years — others of lesser means have been trying to make ends meet every day.

Well, the Greater Charleston Empowerment Corporation wants to help ease those with financial burdens.

With the help of Chemical maker Rhodia Inc., the nonprofit will award six scholarships to low-income students.It will award $1,000 scholarships to five students and one $5,000 scholarship later this year.

The empowerment corporation is a nonprofit organization devoted to the betterment of individuals, families and the businesses in the Charleston metropolitan area. It works with municipalities and businesses to empower people in low-income communities.

CEO Anthony Moore said the corporation has awarded scholarships for the last 10 years to people in low-income neighborhoods in Charleston and North Charleston.

Rhodia Inc. sponsors the $5,000 scholarship, primarily to people in seven to 10 communities closer to its Neck Area plant, such as Rosemont, Accabee, Silverhill or the East Side.

Many in this group will be the first in their families to go to college, Moore said. The idea is to help those who need a helping hand with tuition and books, he said. Have you priced a textbook lately? A world history text at the College of Charleston can run between $42.55 and $86.80.

The scholarships will be offered to existing students or those entering college for the first time.

Students must live in one of 31 neighborhoods. Some eligible communities include Dorchester Terrace, Brentwood, Liberty Hill and Russelldale in North Charleston and the East Side, Elliotborough, Bayside and Gadsden Green in Charleston.

The application deadline is June 28. To be eligible, students must have a GPA of 2.5 or higher, a recent school transcript, and write a 500- to 1000-word essay on why education is important to them.

Also, each must give 10 hours of volunteer work at the corporation's office to qualify. Other community work will be considered.

Each person must demonstrate financial need. For example, a family of three can earn around $20,000 a year. The winners will be selected by a committee later this year.

An application and more information can be found at or by contacting Anthony Moore at 789-4690 or

Reach Assistant Features Editor Shirley A. Greene at 937-5555.