Financial assistance allows students to push for success

Roy Haggerty, the dean of the College of Science, says that students in the Oregon State University College of Science were awarded 7.5 million dollars in scholarships

Angel Xuan Le

Departments consider several characteristics in scholarship eligibility.

The average cost of tuition for three terms at Oregon State University as an undergraduate is about $26,000, and for graduate students it is approximately $30,000. The university attempts to alleviate some of the costs of attendance through scholarships and grants.

OSU scholarship pools for each individual college begins Nov. 15 and ends Feb. 15. It is highly recommended that students start looking at available scholarships and start writing their responses over the winter break, according to Keith Raab, the director of Financial Aid.

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According to Raab, students can receive up to the full amount of the costs of attendance. Not many students are able to receive aid from the university, so they look to outside scholarships to fill in the gaps.

“Outside scholarships are very helpful to students’ tuition and fees and everything a student pays for college,” Raab said.

Phuong Uyen Nguyen, a fourth year psychology, biohealth sciences and human development and family sciences student, has received outside scholarships to put towards tuition.

“I was fortunate to receive a myriad of scholarships: the Kaiser, Comcast, Simon Benson and the Ford Family scholarship,” Nguyen said. “They all helped me get to where I am—exploring my goals and future at Oregon State University.”

Nguyen held many leadership roles and actively volunteered in her community which assisted her in receiving many scholarships. Before any scholarship interviews, she practiced her interviewing skills so that she would remain calm. 

“At the end of the day, the key is to know what you did, why you did it and what it means to you,” Nguyen said. “Understand your activities and choices and why you made them. It will make it easier to answer questions and relating it to real life examples.” 

According to Roy Haggerty, the dean of the College of Science, specifically in the College of Science, $906,000 worth in scholarships were awarded to students within the college. Around 7.5 million dollars were awarded in total to students in the College of Science inside and outside of the university.

Of the students that received these scholarships, more than half the students were women, a third were from the Honors College and half the recipients were students of color, according to Haggerty. Twenty-eight percent of recipients were first-generation students, whereas 65 percent of recipients had received scholarships for academic work. 

“They are very deserving and good students that we care deeply about,” Haggerty said. “We are putting our money behind for students in college of science.”

One of the priorities of Haggerty is student success. Haggerty understands that financial barriers are a difficulty for students and their success.

“Students should not pay for more in college than they absolutely need to,” Haggerty said. “We want to support students who have financial need. We want to support students who have financial barriers to attending or completing a degree at OSU, we want to help them. You do not have to be a straight-A student, we support all students with good academic achievement. We want to give money to students so that they can complete their education.”

According to Rabb, each student has a unique story regarding their financial needs.

“You have to make sure to answer the question they ask. Most scholarships are looking for what makes you unique, and what makes your story interesting. The experiences, the things that make you a unique and gifted individual,” Raab said. “Everyone here has a story and everyone has overcome some obstacles. Tell that in an interesting and effective manner.”

Many students believe that in order to qualify for scholarships, they must be in good academic standing, have at least a 3.5 GPA or be in financial need, according to Raab. Some students also believe they have to be in high school to receive a scholarship. There are many scholarships that don’t actually require any of these.

According to Haggerty, many facets of students’ financial need are taken into consideration when determining individual eligibility for scholarships.

“Some scholarships are based on academic achievement, some are based on financial need. Other scholarships have a component of community service too. Other factors are taken into account. There are a wide range of factors that are considered that allows a student to end up receiving scholarships from the College of Science,” Haggerty said.

All the scholarships in the College of Scienceswill be distributed, even if the individual does not fit all the criteria, according to Haggerty. 

“We’re very generous, liberal with our interpretation of guidelines, try hard not to have restrictions to distribute them,” Haggerty said.

In addition to the scholarships presented, if a student’s financial situation suddenly worsens, there is money reserved for such an occasion, according to Haggerty.

“We have hardship awards—a small budget inside the college—that are allocated to head advisors to deal with situations of financial hardship and the university has similar types as well,” Haggerty said.  

Many students out there such as Nguyen have struggled in personal aspects of their lives, whether it be financially, academically or emotionally.

“I came over to the states when I was one year old,” Nguyen said. “My parents struggled really hard to get us a stable place to be. They continued to work hard throughout their lives to provide my sister and I with a future. Even now my mom works two jobs.”

Nguyen encourages anyone and everyone to apply for scholarships.

“I think not applying would impact you the most. You can save essay responses, get them edited and modify them for the future,” Nguyen said. “So continue building your base and keep looking.”

In addition, Nguyen understands that financial barriers stop students from believing in higher education. She wants students to know that scholarships are out there to help students get past their financial barriers. 

“Many students compare themselves to others and think, ‘I didn’t do enough, I don’t stand a chance,’” Nguyen said. “They need to remember that they are unique. Everyone has a story that only they can tell. It is important to learn to relay that message to others.”