Many students today must decide between continuing their education, potentially accruing debt to pay off for decades, or finding jobs that don’t require a college degree. To help with this, Wichita State targeted $1 million to establish the Sedgwick County Access Grant, a need-based financial award for incoming freshmen.
Students who qualify for the grant receive up to $4,000 a year to assist with tuition and fees. To qualify, students must be a Sedgwick County resident, get accepted to WSU and show financial need through FAFSA completion by WSU’s priority date of Dec. 1.
Now in its fourth year, the grant has helped more than 340 students reduce their financial stress while attending WSU. One of those students is Karsen Klein, who says she appreciates WSU’s commitment to its students.
“It showed me that WSU really cares about the students around the Sedgwick County area, and that fact cemented my decision to come here,” said Karsen, a biology major.
As a first-year student, Karsen feels relieved that she won’t have to stress about money for the next four years.
“I am now able to put all my focus on school without having to worry about working or paying for it,” she said. “It has made my transition to college so much easier and stress-free, and I am so grateful for that.”
Jadyn Stutey, a junior strategic communication student, also receives financial aid through the grant.
“One of my goals before starting college was to take out a very small amount of loans, and this grant helped me do that,” she said.
The help from WSU has encouraged Jadyn to continue her education and take advantage of new opportunities. Now, she wants to make sure other students like her can benefit from the program.
“To the students who are dragging their feet on getting FAFSA filled out, get it done,” she said. “I cannot stress how grateful I am to receive the grants and scholarships I got just by filling it out.”
The director of the Office of Financial Aid, Sheelu Surender, wants to emphasize that to receive priority consideration for the financial assistance, high school seniors in Sedgwick County need to get accepted to WSU and fill out their FAFSA before Dec. 1.
“We want local students to have aid opportunities,” she said. “This grant is just one of the ways to give students options and reduce debt for our recipients.”