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Scholarship helps local high school students attend University of Utah

Posted at 6:44 AM, Mar 22, 2023

SALT LAKE CITY — A scholarship program is helping Utah high school students who are ready to attend the University of Utah and have the grades to prove it, but don't think they can financially afford it.

The "For Utah" scholarship program is already helping students make their college dreams come true.

Jessica Venegas is part of the first wave of students who qualified for this scholarship. She's a daughter of immigrant parents and had excellent high school grades with the goal to become a doctor.

"What would my tuition cost - including room and board and everything else?" Venegas reflected, "Yeah, it was definitely really intimidating knowing like, how am I going to pay this off?"

Her hopes were dashed due to her financial reality but everything changed when she learned she was eligible for a brand-new scholarship.

"It basically covers my entire tuition which is, it's an incredible opportunity," she exclaimed.

Steve Robinson helped put together the "For Utah" scholarship program and he said the motivation was to make sure there was a "fully funded path" for students who would otherwise thrive at the U.

"We wanted to make sure there wasn't a student in Utah who academically was eligible, that didn't feel like they could make it at The U because of finances," Robinson explained.

Once the scholarship is offered, the student must maintain at least a 3.0 GPA to keep the funding going up to four years.

"This scholarship has hopefully solved the cost issue and let them concentrate on being students which is what we want and soon-to-be graduates," Robinson said.

Venegas is on track for an honors, bachelor's degree in biology and she says the scholarship has allowed her to dream even bigger than she anticipated.

"I'm currently on the premed track," she said, "So the other dream is to just, hopefully, one day get accepted into medical school and become a doctor."

Over the last three years, the University of Utah has awarded 1,600 "For Utah" scholarships and recently handed out 900 more.

For more information on qualifications and hot to apply, click here.