The price of education is rising. According to an article by Huffington Post, “college tuition and fees have increased 1,120 percent since records began in 1978,” and the Associated Press also reported that “the average tuition at four-year public universities had increased by 15 percent between 2008 and 2010.”
As a result, business manager for BC’s Foundation Scholarships Susan Kingsbury-Comeau and the Associate Director of the Center for Career Connections Michael Reese organized a scholarship information session at BC on Wednesday, Feb. 11. Comeau and Reese also invited program officer Kim King and marketing and communications manager Megan Nelson of the Washington State Opportunity Scholarship. The event was held in N201, from 2:30 – 3:30 p.m.
As it was a scholarship information session, it was centered on finding and applying for scholarships. King and Nelson, as representatives of the WSOS Foundation, spoke about the criteria for the scholarship that students should consider before applying.
For example, one of the most important requirements for WSOS is to be a Washington resident who plans on attending a university in Washington state. Additionally, students interested in applying to WSOS must have a major within the Science, Technology, Engineering or Math programs.
The WSOS Foundation is “a really unique and exciting scholarship that was introduced in 2011. It was written into legislation and taxpayers pay for it,” said Nelson. King also commented on the reason behind some of the prerequisites, saying that the WSOS Foundation “encourages students to work in STEM field and work in Washington to give back to the economy and the community.”
The WSOS is one of the “simplest scholarship applications you can apply for. There’s no recommendation letters and we only ask you to answer 20 questions and an essay question. You have to have 90 or fewer credits in order to be eligible to apply.” Furthermore, those who are accepted to receive the scholarship have the opportunity to meet professionals within their STEM field.
Following King and Nelson’s speech, Comeau discussed BC’s Foundation Scholarships and stated, “Every student at BC should apply for the scholarship. We have scholarships based on financial need and some scholarships consider merit and some consider both. Do not think for a second that you are ineligible for scholarships.”
Within BC’s Foundation Scholarships, students have the opportunity of applying to multiple scholarships with one application.
“BC Foundation Scholarships only has one application and when you get to the end of the application, you just look at all the scholarships that have been filtered according to your criteria and qualifications and you just apply for them all with one application,” said Comeau.
The online application has nearly 75 different scholarships with around 30 to 45 scholarships offered each year.
Comeau added that, “You’re going to be asked six essay questions and they will discuss your goals, plans, major and what you require to accomplish your goal.”
Most scholarship awards will range from $1,000 to $3,000 per year. In most years, 50 to 60 percent of the BC Scholarship Foundation applicants receive awards.
Lastly, the staff discussed common problems and mistakes experienced by most students. For example, when students write their scholarship essays, Reese often sees “students successfully answer the aspirations and goals in their essays,” but he wants essays where “students write about what steps they’ve taken or what they’ve already done to make that dream successful.”
To this sentiment, Comeau also added, “answer essay questions with short, brief and right-to-the-point stories. These usually get the awards.”
Although the increase in tuition is slowing down, college students should still consider applying for scholarships to help pay for their tuition.
“Our donors are investing in you, the students, and into the future of the Washington community,” said Comeau.
For students, who are interested in the WSOS Foundation, can visit waopportunityscholarship.org. Those who are interested in applying for BC’s Foundation Scholarships can go to the scholarships web page.