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Get money for your major: Departmental scholarships

A quiet Saturday afternoon at the J. Willard Health Science building. (Norlito Ranchez – The Signpost)

Every year, Weber State University gives millions of dollars in scholarships to its students. A large portion of that money comes from departmental scholarships, but many students are not aware of these financial resources.

Each scholarship has a set of qualifications students must meet in order to receive it. However, some WSU professors said that the qualifications generally consist of a low GPA, making it available to many students.

Huiying Hill, sociology/anthropology chair and professor at WSU, said that in comparison to some scholarship application processes, applying for most departmental scholarships is fairly easy.

The number of scholarships offered per department varies. Some departments offer only a few; others, like the English department, can offer 10-12 scholarships.

Gavin Roberts, economics department chair and associate professor of economics, said his department has two scholarships they give out every year.

“We get fewer students than we’d like to apply for these scholarships,” Roberts said.

Roberts said so few students are applying for their scholarships that they pooled up enough money to award four students a scholarship last year instead of two.

The sparsity of applicants for departmental scholarships could be attributed to lack of knowledge.

“Because we know a lot of students struggle in short-term financial needs, another way we make students aware of the scholarships is by word of mouth,” Roberts said.

The economics department makes it a goal to email their students to inform them of scholarships available within the department. Even with these efforts, the number of students applying is still relatively low.

Hal Crimmel, English department chair and professor, said there is a new system being implemented for departmental scholarships within the next few months. Although the system is mainly to sort through applicants, it will also help inform students of departmental scholarships that are available to them.

Not all departmental scholarships come from WSU.

“Some is money that has come from university, some is money that has come from private donors,” Crimmel said.

With the differences in where the scholarships come from comes differences in scholarship amounts, ranging anywhere from a couple hundred to a couple thousand. WSU professors collectively agree that it is a substantial amount and that it’s worth students’ time to apply.

“Departments around WSU campus encourage students to look into scholarships that their major specific departments offer,” Roberts said. “The money is there, students just have to look.”

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Gracie Stephenson, Culture reporter

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