By Jillian Weynand
The school year is quickly coming to an end, which means new students are preparing to enroll for classes and returning students are going to create schedules for the fall. One of the tasks on each college student’s to do list during the last weeks of the spring semester is applying for scholarships that they are eligible for.
Our college has scholarships for new students, continuing students, and graduating students that are moving onto other colleges or universities. The college has a half of a million dollars in the scholarship fund to be awarded to students that apply for them. In addition to the scholarships that students can apply for, they also have access to apply to Suffolk County Grants.
I got in touch with a financial aid counselor from the Ammerman Campus, Nicole Reitman, she answered my most pressing questions that I had about scholarships. I asked Nicole how many students normally apply for scholarships here on our campus and she had said it was only a few hundred students. It is questionable as to why only a few hundred students apply for scholarships when several thousand attend the college.
The college has scholarships with names like “Stay on Long Island” and “Get There From Here”, it is a wonder why more students don’t take the opportunity to apply for scholarships when they are both very generous components of the program.
When I asked Nicole what happens with the funds that are not awarded for scholarships that are not applied for she had told me that the funds stay in an account to be used for the following awarding year. While the money remains in an account and is not being withdrawn, it will gain interest. This has resulted in excess funds being in the scholarship accounts after they aren’t used.
Nicole had mentioned to me that next year the software for the scholarship program on the college website will be changing. Perhaps it will be more noticeable for students to apply for scholarships.
I was wondering why students don’t apply for scholarships, what keeps them from submitting an application? I sat down with Christina Felix, 32, a student who has returned to college for a theatre degree. Christina has hopes of working on a cruise liner as a director, she is currently working on campus in the Babylon Student Center and is also a patient advocate. Christina is clearly a diligent worker and student, but oddly enough she told me that she has never applied for scholarships.
Christina is a member of a number of co-curricular activities at school and often takes part in community service activities. She had stressed to me how important and fulfilling it is for her to give back to the community around her and to always be thankful.
Someone with a work ethic like Christina Felix is more than deserving of a scholarship. I suggested to her that she take a look at what scholarships she has already met the requirements for. At the end of my interview with Christina she told me that she was glad she sat down to talk to me about scholarships, she felt that it gave her the reminder to go for what she wanted most: a shot at a future that she knows she will enjoy.