Sophomore Michael Etheridge received the Challenge for Excellence Scholarship after graduating from Brownsville’s Pace High School.
Now open to any high school student who will be attending The University of Texas at Brownsville and Texas Southmost College in the fall, the newly renamed UTB/TSC Challenge for Excellence Scholarship helps first-time freshman realize their college dreams.
Known for more than 20 years as the Texas Southmost College Foundation Endowment Challenge for Excellence Scholarship, it has helped thousands of students from the TSC taxing district pay for college.
With the new name, the scholarship has been expanded to allow all UTB/TSC first-time freshman to apply for funds toward tuition. The deadline to apply is Thursday, April 15.
“Not only have the name and the requirements for who can apply changed, but the amount of assistance we offer has also dramatically increased as well,” said UTB/TSC Financial Aid Director Mari Chapa. “A student, over four years from freshman year to senior year, can receive up to $8,000 in assistance. This is a big help for students who do not qualify for federal aid.”
But the scholarship still does what it has always done: help students focus on school.
“Having a scholarship frees up your time,” said UTB/TSC sophomore Anthony Ford. “I don’t have to worry about scrounging for money to buy books, and I am able to focus on my classes without having to worry about how to pay for them.”
When the endowment was started in 1987, TSC had to raise $1 million to get $2 million in matching funds from the U.S Department of Education.
Students continue to benefit from the efforts of community members who founded the endowment by working phone banks, holding bake sales and making generous donations. To date, the corpus of the fund has grown to
“Every cent counts,” said Michael Etheridge, a 19-year-old UTB/TSC sophomore. “The way society and the world are going, you have to go to
school. It is the best thing you can do for your future, not only for the sake of getting your degree, but for what you learn while getting it.
“I encourage all students to apply for a scholarship; they lose nothing taking the time to apply,” he said. “Scholarships really do help.”