Tyler Hargett

I realize that it is impossible to completely pay for everyone’s college, but why is there not a larger variety of scholarships for students?

The Alabama Legislature recently decided not to increase funding for UNA, resulting in a higher tuition increase. This resulted in more transfer students, like myself and the other 586 transfer students of fall 2016, wondering if they would be able to afford coming to UNA.

My college experience began like many others, not at a large university like UNA, but at a smaller community college.

While there is nothing wrong with just earning an associate’s degree, I wanted to take the next step and earn my bachelor’s.

However, with changing colleges, the issue of doing another scholarship hunt always arises. It would be nice if there were an “apply for all” button one could press.

Since I planned to transfer to UNA, I checked their website for transfer scholarships. However, at the time, I found that the only transfer-exclusive scholarship offered was for members of Phi Theta Kappa.

This scholarship amounts to $1800 a semester. To get it, one must be in “good standing” with Phi Theta Kappa and have a minimum 3.25 GPA and 48 credit hours that will transfer.

Since I was a member of Northwest Shoals Community College’s chapter who kept up my grades and took enough classes, I received the scholarship on awards night.

However, I know there are other students who share my situation but are not members of Phi Theta Kappa. What are they going to do?

In my search, I found additional money for transfer students offered at UNA, but they do not apply to everyone.

Since my transfer to UNA, there has been the addition of another transfer-exclusive scholarship for students coming from community college. However, it only amounts to $2,000 a semester, which if one is lucky, could pay for one class and a book.

There are some special recognition scholarships offered for members of Gorgas Scholars, the All Alabama Team and other academic/leadership organizations. However, not every student is a part of these organizations.

Transfer students also qualify for some honors scholarships but must compete with non-transfer students to get them.

Because of my parent’s income, I was not qualified to receive a large amount of money from the Pell Grant. I was also not going to apply for a loan.

The only other options left are getting money from parents or getting a job, which, depending on the amount of work hours, can conflict with time spent going to college.

I believe students coming to UNA or any other four-year college need a variety of transfer scholarships. Not only does it allow those who cannot afford or seem unsure of going straight to a university to start smaller with a community college, but also rewards them for their hard work at the smaller campus.

One must also think about out-of-state transfer students, who pay double the amount of tuition that in-state students do.

Petitioning the state Legislature to increase funding will help UNA not only lower the tuition, but also create new opportunities for transfer students to pay for college.

Both current and future transfer students should join together, because we all decided to take it one step at a time after high school.

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