Scholarships 'for everybody'
By Loren Moreno
Advertiser Staff Writer
By Loren Moreno
Kayla Yost, a Hawai'i student attending George Washington University in Washington, D.C., knows how it feels to worry about paying for school.
"I definitely would not have been able to go to college if I didn't have scholarships and financial aid," said Yost, an 18-year-old Wai'anae High School graduate who comes from a single-parent home.
Yost was one of 1,500 students awarded more than $3 million in scholarships last year through the Hawai'i Community Foundation.
"They have such an array of scholarships you can apply for," Yost said in a phone interview. She received about $6,000 from the foundation and other private scholarships last year.
The March 1 application deadline is fast approaching for the Hawai'i Community Foundation Scholarship Program. And the best thing is, "there is something for everybody," said Judy Oliveira, HCF senior scholarship officer.
Through the foundation, students have access to more than 100 different scholarships, with more being added every day, said Oliveira. Scholarships available are categorized by majors, ethnicity, geographic location, religious affiliation and for those who are members of organizations.
"Students fill out one application online and they can be eligible for more than one (scholarship)," Oliveira said.
Each scholarship fund has its own specific requirements defined by the donor who created it, Oliveira said. The scholarships have a variety of award amounts, which range from $500 to several thousand dollars, according to the foundation's Web site.
The average scholarship grant in 2005 was $1,850.
Financial aid and scholarships have become more and more necessary with the rising cost of tuition and parents expecting their children to help pay their way through school, Oliveira said.
One-third of parents have not saved any money for their child's college education and more than half insist that their child share the financial burden, according to a recent national poll by Next Step Magazine, a college, career and life-planning magazine for high school students.
Nationwide, a four-year, in-state public college can cost on average nearly $12,127 a year, while four years at a private institution can cost on average nearly $29,026 a year, according to The College Board, a college-preparation program that administers the SAT and PSAT college assessment examinations.
That is what has made scholarships so important, Yost said. She encourages students like her to apply for any scholarship, even if they think they will not qualify.
"I was one of those students who didn't think I would get too many scholarships," Yost said. "They look beyond the grade and the test scores — they look at the person," she said.
Reach Loren Moreno at firstname.lastname@example.org.