The ongoing pandemic, lost jobs and other factors have posed challenges to countless Americans seeking to continue their academic journeys. However, scholarships make a difference for college students and help them reach the finish line with degrees.
November is National Scholarship Month (sponsored by the National Scholarship Providers Association), and the University of Houston Downtown celebrates its students who advance in their academic careers with the support of scholarships. Similarly, the university encourages students to search for scholarship opportunities on the UHD website and other sources.
Annually approximately 1.7 million special scholarships and fellowships are awarded to students across the country. In Texas, eligible students can apply for a number of scholarships and state scholarship programs to help them achieve their academic goals.
According to Dr. Daniel Villanueva, UHD Vice President for Enrollment Management, there is often a misconception among students about how scholarships are awarded. This leads to lost opportunities and dollars to students.
Villanueva advises students to seek out any financial aid that may be available. Any amount of funding, he said, makes a difference in reducing debt and even improving academic performance.
“Just knowing that your books are paid, or that fees are covered can bring some peace of mind at the end of the day and allow students to focus on their studies,” he said.
Shamika Jefferson, president of the UHD State Student Association, understands the positive impact that a scholarship can have. Jefferson, a second-year MBA student, received an important award from the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board. She is one of 253 students nationwide who will be selected for this scholarship.
“It is a great honor to be chosen as a Scholar in the PCAOB Program for 2021,” Jefferson said. “This year has presented many challenges for all of us, and I am very fortunate to be awarded the PCAOB scholarship. It has blessed me to achieve my MBA goal.”
While Jefferson works to complete her graduate studies, business administration student Matthew Muñoz started his first year at college with the support of a Tu Futuro scholarship. This special scholarship (provided by Univision Houston in partnership with UHD) covers his entire undergraduate education.
Muñoz received this scholarship through an essay competition in which he outlined his goals for giving back to his community after receiving his degree.
“While the grant money will help pay for my education, I see it as more than just a way to get less debt, it’s a way to inspire and unite my community through not just examples, but through action,” Muñoz wrote in his article. . “This scholarship is just the first step in my plan, it is the foundation for a better future.”
National Scholarship Month celebrates students like Muñoz and Jefferson and also raises awareness of scholarships and their growing importance for college students.
“Students assume that all scholarships are based on academic standing, which is not always the case,” Villanueva said. “Many scholarships are offered based on a variety of factors. These include scholarships based on financial need… or for specific fields of study. Students need to know that there are scholarships of varying amounts that come from several sources. These may be from Private sources…from the community…or from universities. This is why the National Scholarship Month…is important to let students know about access to higher education, and support is available if they seek it.”
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