PHOENIX — Grand Canyon University is using donations from a university fundraiser to put smiles on the faces of 100 high school students around the Phoenix-area.
The private university is offering full-ride scholarships to low-income students in the Phoenix Union High School District through its Students Inspiring Students Scholarship program.
Over this past week, university staff visited different high schools around the Valley to surprise the recipients.
One of the schools was Central High School, where senior Claudia Palma-Leon said she was incredibly grateful to receive a full-ride to Grand Canyon University.
She said the scholarship is the different between going to college and not going to college.
“Especially with my (financial) situation and not really having any guardians, it means a lot because I don’t have to pay (anything) or worry about anything,” she said.
Arlin Guadin, program manager for the Grand Canyon Learning Lounge, said students who applied for the scholarships went through a rigorous process.
The students spent 50 hours in the university’s learning lounge after school being proactive in their education. They also needed a reference from a learning advocate at the lounge, along with writing a personal narrative.
Guadin said these scholarships are giving students the opportunity to receive a college education and pursue their dreams.
“A lot of our students come from lower-income families and the financial support is not there,” Guadin said. “That’s why this is just an incredible opportunity and a gift for GCU and these students.”
As part of the scholarship requirements, the 100 incoming freshman receiving full-rides will be asked to volunteer their time in the learning lounge, giving back to high school students who could one day receive college scholarships of their own.
In addition to Central, Alhambra High School, Franklin Police and Fire High School and Washington High School have students receiving the Students Inspiring Students scholarships.
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