THE ‘FOR Utah Scholarship’ is a game changer for low-income students. This new scholarship will cover four years of tuition and fees at the University of Utah. For eligible students, this will greatly impact their lives and future generations to come, and worrying about how they will pay for college is now a thing of the past.
To be eligible for this scholarship, students must be Utah residents, first-time freshmen, have an average GPA of 3.2, complete the FAFSA, and be Pell Grant eligible Students must also be accepted into the University of Utah. Students are required to be enrolled full time for eight semesters and maintain a 3.0 GPA.
It was brought to my attention that holding the press release at Granger may have had more to with Granger than just its size. It is smart to make announcements at a place where it’s most relevant. Granger has a larger number of students who will be impacted than say, Skyline High School.
Dr. Ruth Watkins, the president of the University of Utah, tip-toed around the exact financial requirements by simply saying, “all students who are Pell Grant eligible will be in the running to receive this scholarship.” About 200 of Granger’s seniors could benefit from this incredible opportunity.
As Dr. Watkins listed the requirements, I was eligible to receive this scholarship up until the Pell Grant requirement was mentioned. The Pell Grant financial requirements are grouped into categories. If a families income is $30,000 or less, the student applying will get it. If the income is in the range of $40,000 to $50,000 the student will most likely get it. Anything more than $50,000 and the amount of money received will be quite low, if any. This is where I became ineligible. And where many other students, including many Granger Lancers, become ineligible.
Another Pell Grant requirement that will change the number of students eligible is a very sensitive topic for most. Students must be in the United States legally. Either have a green card, or be a US citizen. Along with this, other requirements include applying for the draft, and having no convictions (criminal record). The studentaid.ed.gov website lists more specific requirements.
The most upsetting part is that this is yet another scholarship many do not qualify for. While it’s an amazing opportunity, there are still many students—like myself—who just barely missed the cutoff, and still can’t afford college without numerous student loans. In my opinion, it’s not fair to say that someone can go to college because their parents don’t make good money, and the students whose parents do make good money can’t make college happen without amassing a huge pile of student debt.
Students are practically being handed this scholarship if their family is low-income. Having an average GPA of 3.2 is not very difficult. The only thing that can really get in their way is being accepted into the University of Utah. With a lower GPA, ACT scores would need to be in the 20s, but students with higher GPAs can qualify with lower ACT scores.
Dr. Watkins wants all students to know that “cost is not a barrier to coming to the University of Utah.” Even though it still is for many students across the state.
Don’t get me wrong, I understand how amazing this is for all students, and I’m happy for all of the lives that will be forever impacted. It’s just saddening to know that, yet again, because my family is financially stable, I am not eligible for this amazing opportunity.