TYLER, Texas (KLTV) - Some East Texas seniors will not have to worry about how they will pay for college.
This week, the University of Texas at Tyler is making its annual stops at several area high schools to surprise the 2020 UT Tyler Presidential Fellows with full-ride scholarships. This is their third year presenting high school students with a scholarship.
This full-ride scholarship, better known as Presidential Fellows, includes full tuition, fees, books, and room and board. This equates to over $90,000 worth of aid.
Fourteen students will receive the award. KLTV’s Dante Nuñez was there as two of them were surprised Monday morning.
Elaina Gonzalez, a senior at Robert E. Lee High School in Tyler, and Jack Pannagl, a senior at Whitehouse High School, were selected from hundreds of applicants after submitting essays and doing interviews.
“The students have to have a high GPA, high act/sat test score, rigorous screening, and an on-campus interview,” Director of College Readiness of UT Tyler, Angie Copeland, said.
Gonzalez was shocked to hear the news, but she believes this award will help her mother out financially.
“It’s going to make the next few years easier, I live with my mom and she’s a single mom and it’s really nice to not have that burden on her to help me pay for my college and on me to not have to work too much during college so I can focus on my studies and do the best that I can,” she said.
According to the institute for college access and success…in 2018, , 56 % of texas college seniors graduated with debt.
Pannagl is excited to be awarded the Presidential Fellows award and is thankful not to stress anymore about college.
“It makes the decision a lot easier, I don’t have to deal with money or debt…so I can focus on my studies,” he said.
But what Gonzalez is most excited about, is being able to move in to the dorms.
“I really wanted the opportunity to get to live in the dorm and get the whole college experience so I’m very excited to try that,” she said.