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Priority dates near for scholarship applications

Perhaps one of the roughest parts of school is paying for it, and students interested in assistance by way of scholarships should get the ball rolling, as the scholarship application priority dates for the 2013-14 school year are fast approaching. Th

e priority dates are Monday, Jan. 14 for new freshmen, re-admitted students and continuing students, and the priority date for transfer students is March 1.

Each year, more students apply for scholarships than there are available funds for, according to the Weber State University Scholarship & Financial Aid website. Because of these discrepancies, the earlier students apply, the more competitive they’ll be in being considered for scholarships, funds and awards. Students may still apply after the priority deadlines, but students who do so are placed on an alternate list for funding and awards that might become available.

“The reality is school is expensive. Books are expensive,” said Carol Merrill, director of the Women’s Center at WSU.

Merrill said her office has been very busy lately, facilitating scholarships for women and some nontraditional students. “And for some people, they might get a Pell Grant to go to school, but then they might not have enough money to pay rent or utilities or buy books. And I would hate for any student to have to drop out of school because they don’t have money for books. (Financial resources) are important whether a student is a single parent, a traditional student or a nontraditional student.”

Elise Walker, a WSU freshman who plans to study nursing, received a high honors scholarship for the semester.

“It’s a lot nicer, having a scholarship,” she said, “just because I’m able to not pay as much as I’d normally have to pay. That’s definitely helpful.”

Scholarships aren’t just for academic or athletic superstars; the range of available scholarships is about as varied as the students who attend WSU. Departmental scholarships offer students opportunities within their fields of study and literally range from A-Z (accounting to zoology). Needs-based scholarships are available for students requiring financial assistance. Wildcat activity scholarships are available for students who engage in extracurricular activities, such as WSU radio station KWCR, cheerleading or leadership roles.

Many scholarships also exist from private donors and in memory of community figures. As just one example, the Gump and Ayers Scholarship Fund was established in memory of Marjorie B. Gump in 1996 and is designated for single mothers enrolled in higher-education programs. Students interested in the Gump and Ayers Scholarship can pick up an application in the Women’s Center, or print it at

Laramie Downs, a WSU freshman, is working toward an integrated studies degree — sociology, psychology and “most likely physical therapy” — while also doing the pre-med program, emphasizing in nutrition. Downs was offered a full-ride debate scholarship, but had to decline it because it conflicted with his schedule.

“It didn’t work out for me, but I have friends who have scholarships. It’s really helpful for them, but I can tell it’s stressful, trying to keep them. My one friend’s having to take 19 credits just to keep the scholarship that he’s got.”

Students can apply for scholarships online through the Student Services tab on their student portals and can also visit the WSU Financial Aid and Scholarship Department in the Student Services Building. More information about scholarships can be found on WSU’s website.

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