BYU students underutilize scholarship opportunities

A student goes to the BYU admission page to apply for scholarships. Most of the BYU continuing student scholarship application are due March 1. (Maddi Driggs)

National studies report students are becoming increasingly concerned with student debt. An article in Time said the average debt for graduates last year was $35,000. However, many BYU students admit they aren’t aware of and don’t apply to the scholarships available to them.

“I always forget and miss the deadline,” Tyler Moore, BYU history major, said.

He added BYU is already so inexpensive that he didn’t feel the urgency to apply for scholarships.

Shane Jorgenson, advisement center director of the college of physical and mathematical sciences, said students come to him asking for scholarship advice. He usually advises them to make sure they apply for university scholarships, external scholarships and then go straight to their specific department to find more opportunities.

“Unfortunately, there isn’t one website with every scholarship available. I would advise students to do their homework and meet with their academic advisor and make a strategy to find scholarships they qualify for,” Jorgensen said.

BYU nursing student Bri Barnes has taken advantage of the scholarships offered at BYU.  Barnes said she knew about scholarships, but didn’t realize how easy they would be to sign up for. She applied for a scholarship after her freshman year and said it only took her about five minutes. She was offered a full tuition academic scholarship.

“I think a lot of people are aware there are scholarships out there, but they don’t take the time to learn about them and then they miss out on the opportunity,” Barnes said.

A graphic shows the top three scholarships available to students at BYU. The scholarships fall under BYU academic, BYU need-based and BYU private scholarship categories. (Savannah Hawkins)

The BYU Admissions website states even though BYU tuition is already affordable, scholarships are available to students that qualify. The site states, “BYU seeks to recognize students who have demonstrated academic excellence, leadership skills, financial need or unique talents.”

BYU offers a variety of scholarships for different types of students. Some of these scholarships include: academic awards, talent awards, need-based or other private scholarships, off campus scholarships and ROTC military awards.

One student received the Thomas S. Monson Presidential Scholarship.

“My scholarship has given me the ability and freedom to focus completely on school and not stress so much about finances,” Connor Peck, BYU junior said.

Fred Pinnegar, manager of national scholarships, fellowships and programs, said he encourages his students to work on other things like voluntary service, language certifications, leadership opportunities, study abroad, etc., because a good GPA isn’t always enough to receive a scholarship.

“Even if you don’t get the scholarships, if you’re paying attention to what it takes to get them, you’re already going to be a better student,” Pinnegar said.

Most of the BYU continuing student scholarship applications for Fall 2016/ Winter 2017 are due March 1. Department scholarships deadlines may vary.


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