Why It Matters – A Scholarship Testimonial

As a high school senior I felt bombarded with a lot of life decisions, the greatest of them all, of course, being college – where to go, what to study, and how to pay for it. In the midst of the stress of making these decisions, a great deal of relief came from receiving scholarships. With each new scholarship, a little bit of worry about paying for college disappeared and was replaced with a little more autonomy on my decision of where to attend school. One such scholarship I received this year was the Fairfax Library Foundation Undergraduate Academic Scholarship, which I received for my intern work with the Foundation. I have been with Fairfax Library Foundation since February 2016, and as an intern I curate social media content, write blog posts, and help brainstorm ideas under the Director of Development, Abigail Fine. I had never expected to receive any monetary reward from my internship, and was surprised to find out that many community organizations, many that you might not even expect, have scholarship programs for involved members of the community. When looking at statistics, it becomes apparent why such scholarships are of monumental importance.

7 out of 10 Americans will graduate college with student loan debt, averaging over $37,000 per graduate. These daunting figures are a large factor in why 72 percent of students decide to remain in their home state for college. However, I had always known I wanted to venture out of state, and chose to attend the University of Pittsburgh for its Economics and International Studies departments starting this coming fall, despite the school being over $10,000 beyond my finances. I would not have been able to make such a burdensome financial commitment without the support of local organizations and their scholarship programs. Scholarships I have been awarded such as the PEO Women’s Scholarship for $2,500 and the Fairfax Library Foundation Undergraduate Academic Scholarship for $1,500, along with federal loans, part-time employment, and savings have made it possible for me to attend the University of Pittsburgh with minimal and manageable debt.

Scholarship programs, especially local ones, are instrumental in making college education accessible. Funding for these programs, however, has to exist for the programs to be made available. Community organizations spend the year fundraising to provide funds for post-secondary education, and you have the opportunity to help by either attending fundraisers or making a charitable donation. Scholarships uplift the community by creating local success stories, awarding and incentivising high achievement among youth, and alleviating the financial burdens of students who deserve the education available to them regardless of cost. I almost turned down my offer of admission from the University of Pittsburgh until I began to receive scholarships. Your contributions have the ability to make other students’ dreams come true, just as I will be able to achieve my dream of attending the University of Pittsburgh.

For more information on funding local scholarship programs with the Fairfax Library Foundation, please visit our scholarship page.


Blog by Karenna.

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