Foundation offers many scholarships unknown to students 

By Josh Smith, Contributing Writer
   
The cost of a college education is nothing to take lightly. With the cost of tuition, room and board, meal plans, and books and supplies, the price of a four-year education can be quite costly; however, it does not always have to be. 
 
As of 2016, the total annual cost of attendance for West Liberty University is about $17,000 for West Virginia students and $24,000 for out-of-state students. Although WLU ranks near the top for the cheapest tuition in the state, it is still a lot of money that many families do not have. Many, if not all students, take advantage of federal student aid offered by the government, but only a fraction of students apply for the many scholarships that WLU offers. 
 
Like other universities, WLU offers many institutional academic scholarships. The Elbin-full ride, Elbin, Presidential Scholars, Foundation Scholars, and Black and Gold Scholarships are awarded to students with particular ACT/SAT scores and GPAs. These scholarships are almost exclusively awarded to qualifying students, but there is a vast array of foundation scholarships that students do not take advantage of. 
 
“Foundation scholarships are privately funded scholarships that are created by the desire of generous donors,” said Angie Zambito Hill, Executive Director of the WLU Foundation. “WLU offers nearly 120 of these scholarships that are available to students.” 
 
Of the many foundation scholarships, nearly all the colleges and majors at WLU offer some type of scholarships. The art, athletic, education, music, nursing, and science departments, to name a few, all offer foundation scholarships.
 
“Foundation scholarships are often made my donors to memorialize someone or something,” Hill said. “Because of this, we typically acquire new scholarships every year, while our existing, endowed scholarships continue to earn interest to hopefully reward students for many years to come.” 
 
So why are many of these scholarships not being rewarded to students? Well, many students have not applied for these scholarships, because, quite frankly, many do not know where and how to apply. It’s quite simple: head to the financial aid window on westliberty.edu or ask your advisor if there are scholarships that you would qualify for. 
 
The Financial Aid and Foundation departments are also working toward bettering the accessibility of these scholarships for WLU students. 
 
“We are working on a website that will help educate students on scholarships offered here at WLU and teach them how to apply for these scholarships,” Hill said. “We are hoping the website will be available sometime later this semester.”
 
The cost of a college education can be a burden to many families and their bank accounts, but it does not always have to be. There are numerous scholarships available to all students that are waiting to be awarded; you just have to know where to look. Go apply today!

Image by Josh Smith