West Virginia frequently falls on lists we don’t like. While working on this scholarship piece, I discovered WV does not appear on the list of states with the highest average student loan debt per student ($36,367) from the Class of 2016. A good thing! Nor, did WV appear as one of the states with the lowest average student loan debt per student (($19,975) from the same class. I wish we’d been on this one!
According to Make Lemonade, “as of 2018 there are more than 44 million borrowers who collectively owe $1.5 trillion in student loan debt in the U.S. alone. Student loan debt is now the second highest consumer debt category - behind only mortgage debt - and higher than both credit cards and auto loans.” The average Class of 2016 graduate has $37,172 in student loan debt.
So, why the topic of student loan debt and scholarships appearing in the same publication? It’s simple. Every dollar of scholarship assistance helps reduce the need for loans. Someone recently compared it to giving students a gift card for their education.
BAF has distributed for the 2018-2019 academic semesters scholarship awards totaling $373,492.55 benefiting 238 students at 38 separate colleges and institutions. And we are awaiting recommendations from a number of schools for additional awards before the year’s end.
And students are grateful for those gift cards. Here is just a portion of one of the many thank you notes received at BAF:
“…I cannot thank you enough for creating this scholarship to help those who struggle financially with
college and am forever grateful that out of all your applications, mine was chosen. My father returned to college when I was about eight years old to receive a degree, but whilst obtaining this degree he also accumulated a large amount of debt. However, this never wavered my parent’s beliefs of how important education is. It was at this time
I determined I would do everything in my power to pay my own college bill and I am extremely happy to announce that with this scholarship I have officially paid for my college! I will attend WVU this fall to pursue a B.S. degree in Civil Engineering; however, I am keeping my mind open to pursuing a M.S. when the time comes. Thank you a million times.”
BAF does not create the scholarships. Without generous donors BAF would not have the 180 endowments which are working to reduce loan debt for students from Raleigh and its surrounding counties. Kuddos and a huge thank you to all those donors who have sown seeds of encouragement and financial support for students pursuing their dreams!