Wanted: Students to apply for scholarships

$110,000 of scholarships remain unclaimed

Zach Bailey, Editor-In-Chief

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In this day and age, college seems to have become mandatory to attend for all outgoing high school seniors, but as the years pass, the fear of crippling debt slowly begins to set in. One way to combat these fears is through the use of scholarships, which are made possible with help from the Winona State University Foundation.

With over $1.4 million of scholarships available each year, mixed with the fear of crippling debt, it seems that it would be safe to assume that each scholarship gets claimed. In reality, so far this year 55 of the over 600 scholarships have not been applied for, totaling to $110,000 in unclaimed scholarships.

Each year there are many scholarships that are not applied for or have zero qualified applicants, Jennifer Jonsgaard, Winona State’s scholarship coordinator, said.

“I don’t know [why students are not applying for scholarships],” Jonsgaard said. “I’m begging students to tell me why.”

The foundation offers over 600 scholarships each semester, each one ranging from $250 to $5,000, and each year adds 20-30 more scholarships.

“Alumni create most of the scholarships, based on their experience and time here,” Jonsgaard said. “Businesses are also a big contributor.”

Students are able to apply from Nov. 1 to March 1 and so far this year the foundation has received 9,335 submissions, with most students being eligible for multiple scholarships.

“I’ve had students tell me, ‘If I didn’t get this scholarship I would have had to drop out of school,’” Jonsgaard said. “$1,000 is a lot of money when you’re looking at your student loan debt.”

Jared Lancette, a senior economics major, said that during his time at Winona State, he has applied for nearly 100 scholarships.

“My sophomore year I applied for 15 and was lucky to get a $2,500 renewable scholarship,” Lancette said. “Last year I went hard, and I ended up applying for over 60 of the foundation scholarships.”

Though applying for scholarships can be time consuming, Lancette said it is a lot easier than students think.

“Most of the essays have similar prompts, so even though I applied for a lot of scholarships I only had to write seven essays, and just altered them to fit each application,” Lancette said.

Lancette said that his hard work paid off, and he ended up winning four scholarships, and in the end only had to pay $300 for tuition last semester. Lancette also stated that thanks to scholarships, he has not had to take out any loans for college.

Heather Buerman, a senior athletic training major, is another student that has been greatly influenced by the Winona State foundation.

Buerman typically applies for 10 scholarships each year, and in the past has won as many as three at a time.

“[Scholarships] have really given me the financial relief I need, where I can focus more on putting what I can into clinicals, and not having to put as many hours in at my work study,” Buerman said.

After finding out how many scholarships are not applied for, both Lancette and Buerman spoke about how important scholarships are to students.

“[The amount unapplied for] could cover the entire cost of my physical therapy graduate school, which means it could help lots of people,” Buerman said. “[A few of those scholarships] could pay for a whole semester, if not a year. It hurts my heart.”

Lancette went on to speak about how applying for scholarships is not as difficult as most students seem to think.

“All you have to do is realize that you can get the scholarship. There’s not as much competition for them as you think,” Lancette said. “You can get these things, just look for the ones you want and go for it.”