WILLISTON, N.D. - With one month left in his first semester, Cody Stauffer has a leg up on other freshman around the country, no debt. Stauffer, a recipient of the Williams County Graduate (WCG) Scholarship along with 343 other students, was awarded free tuition, books, and fees for up to two years.
Stauffer was a senior at Williston High School trying to decide between colleges when the WCG Scholarship was announced last October.
"I decided to come to WSC because of the financial incentive," Stauffer stated. "My parents encouraged me and I think this is a wonderful opportunity that many students don't get and it makes going to college a much more appealing idea."
In the first year of the WCG Scholarship, $1,229,119 total awards have been disbursed for Fall 2015 semester as of September 22, 2015. Of these total awards, $259,835 was awarded for books.
Though the cost of books and required course materials has dropped 20% in the last seven years to an average of $563, according to The National Association of College Stores (NACS), some full-time students can expect to pay up to $706 if their classes dictate the purchases.
Contrary to what many people think, bookstores do not make a large profit off of book sales. College bookstores receive their books directly from publishers who determine the amount they charge.
"The common misconception is that the bookstore marks up books or sets prices to be much higher because of Amazon, but that is not true, we have to base our prices off of the publisher," Kayla Anderson, WSC Bookstore Manager explained. "We are grateful to the Foundation, Alva J. Field Trust and the North Dakota Challenge Fund for helping keep the books purchased in our bookstore without the financial burden on the students."
Such cost savings will help Stauffer realize his dream of majoring in agriculture when he transfers to NDSU after completing his general requirements at WSC.
"Without this scholarship I probably wouldn't have gotten the books for every class," Stauffer explained. "Since I am saving money through this scholarship, I do not have to worry about taking out student loans. I am not starting out my life buried under a mountain of debt. This allows me to get a better head start in life and find the job I want versus the job that pays the most."
It is gratifying for one particular WSC Foundation board member to see Stauffer pursuing his career in agriculture.
"It is a great honor for me to be on this foundation board and see what good has come from all the generous people that have donated their money, minerals and land to provide college education for so many high school graduates," Myron Lee, WSC foundation board member and local farmer & rancher said. "I hope we can continue this for many years. Giving the students these scholarships so they can further their education right here in Williston can only lead to good things for the whole community down the road."
The WCG Scholarship will continue as long as revenue and earnings continue. Now, thanks to the North Dakota Challenge Fund, personal contributions will go even further. Dr. Raymond Nadolny, President of Williston State College asks anyone thinking of a charitable gift this season to consider this unique opportunity: "For every two dollars donated, the North Dakota Challenge Fund will contribute one dollar." Anyone interested in contributing to the WCG Scholarship please contact the Williston State College Foundation at 701.572.9275.
For more information about the Williams County Graduate Scholarship please contact
WSC at 701.774.4220
For any information regarding WSC, please visit www.willistonstate.edu,
call 1.888.863.9455, or stop by 1410 University Avenue, Williston, ND.