Bellevue LifeSpring has been providing scholarships for higher education for more than 60 years. The first scholarships, awarded in 1955, were $500 each. The expense of higher education has grown over the years but luckily, so has the Bellevue community’s support of this program. Today, Bellevue LifeSpring scholarships start at $2,000 and are renewable for all four years of college.
But what does $2,000 really mean?
The cost of college tuition today is nearly fifty times what it was in 1955. According to the College Board, the average cost of tuition and fees for the 2017-2018 school year was $9,970 for state residents at public colleges. They also report that the average college student spends upwards of $1,200 a year on textbooks, not to mention the cost of class fees, transportation, housing, food and other school supplies.
At the same time, it is projected that 70% of jobs in Washington State will require postsecondary education by the year 2020. It has never been more critical, or more expensive, to get a college education. So does a scholarship for $2,000 really make a difference?
We asked the recipients of Bellevue LifeSpring’s scholarships.
“If it weren’t for this opportunity, I don’t know where I would be regarding my studies but I definitely know I wouldn’t be where I am today. Even though it might not seem like a big deal, to me this scholarship is critical, if not the most important and stable thing I have and I can rely on. This support has been a huge part of not only my finances but also my mental health. It is relieving to know that buying school supplies, books and parking passes won’t be an issue.”
– Jeyma, Senior at UW Bothell and Student Mentor
“My father has been out of the picture for three years now and he was our main provider. The ones who are juggling all the bills are my brother, my mother and me. I try to help as much as I can but my hours of work went down because I want to focus most of my time in school… scholarships like these motivate me because it’s that reminder in my head that someone believes in me and I cannot disappoint because I am destined for greatness.”
– Nancy, Sophomore at UW and Hotel Front Desk Supervisor
“Often, school feels overwhelming because I must try to balance work and school and extracurricular activities. There are times when I feel as if I am alone in my journey. This scholarship reminds me that Bellevue LifeSpring is behind me and is supporting my every step. Not only does it help me further my education, but it also reminds me that there are people supporting my journey against the odds as a first-generation college student.”
– Emily, Sophomore at UW Seattle and Student Assistant
“This scholarship has filled in the gaps, along with nannying so I can seek out better opportunities which help me build my future. It has enabled me to get a research opportunity with the Evans School of Public Policy, attend career fairs, get a political consulting internship working for progressive policies. In that way, it has truly helped me build soft skills in a crucial time so I can continue on in the path I have always dreamed of and continue paying it forward.”
– Karissa, Senior at UW Seattle and Deaf Rights Activist
“To me, this scholarship is proof stereotypes about a people can be broken. I do not want to be a statistic. I want to achieve and be successful. This scholarship allows me to dream. To believe. To seek. To be a great student, but a better human being. I want to be the second child in my family to graduate so I can help pave the way for my younger siblings and youth in general.”
– Jose, Senior at WWU and member of GNAC All-Academic Soccer Team
“This scholarship means support. Through this, I feel more confident that I can actually achieve the goals and dreams I want to if I really try my hardest. And receiving this scholarship makes me want to try harder.”
– Saulyman, Senior at UW Seattle and Environmental Steward
“The scholarship has meant that I have a foundation, a backing of mentors who provide me the resources to attend college. You are my motivators. It showed me that there are still people who wish the best for me and want to be part of my journey. This scholarship directly influenced my accessibility to college, taking much of the stress of attending college away from finances and allowing me to focus more on homework and other tasks.”
– Yusuf, Senior at UW Bothell and Assistant Career Advisor
“I vividly remember receiving the e-mail informing me that I was a Bellevue Lifespring Scholarship recipient. This mixture of joy, honor and shock rushed over me and the moment felt so surreal. It meant that my hard work, late nights of extracurricular activities, studying, work and constant pursuit of being my best self was being noticed and encouraged. By awarding scholarships to incoming students, Bellevue Lifespring demonstrates its faith in the younger generations to carry on the traditions of truth, strength, and service. To me, that is the greatest honor.”
– Jason, Senior at Bellevue College and Latino HEAT Club Member
A scholarship for $2,000 may not seem like much – but when it comes to breaking the cycle of poverty, every bit helps. Your support of Bellevue LifeSpring is helping to provide stability, instill confidence, fill the gaps and pave the way to a brighter future for students right here in our community. Because of you, these students are empowered and encouraged to work hard toward achieving their dreams and making Bellevue the best place to learn, work and live.