CHEYENNE – For students in Laramie County, there are several ways to get money for college, including a plethora of local scholarships.
Some opportunities for scholarships are even built into the application process when students apply for schools like the University of Wyoming.
“When they apply, they will be looked at for other scholarships,” UW Admissions Director Shelley Dodd said.
At the state’s only four-year university, some scholarships, like the Hathaway Scholarship and the scholar’s award, don’t have separate applications, she said. Instead, students’ applications to the school are considered.
The university has several other department-specific scholarships that don’t usually need separate applications, she added.
But there are others, like ones through the university’s alumni association, that do. These scholarships may take a little more work – like filling out applications or writing essays.
At Laramie County Community College, there is a general scholarship form that students can fill out, financial aid technician Vito Milatzo said. The process highlights scholarships that are a good fit for a student.
But some also require additional paperwork.
Regardless of the application process, several high school counselors said they talk about scholarships with students.
“When students come in looking for scholarships, we go through the entire list and determine if it would be appropriate,” Cheyenne’s Central High career counselor Margie Cook said. “Scholarships really help in the entire college application process. It can help families who need additional money to go to school, and it provides a real sense of accomplishment when they receive them.”
Scholarships also offer students a way to get money for school that doesn’t have to be paid back, Central counselor Becky Schumacher-Wade said.
“Scholarships are free money. Loans are not free money – they’ve got to pay it back,” she said. “Work study is the other way to work on campus. It’s not free, but they don’t have to pay it back.”
Many of the scholarships available come from local donors.
At Laramie County Community College, there are 344 endowed scholarships, mostly from local people, LCCC Foundation director of scholarships and annual giving Brenda Laird said.
Many of the local scholarships recognize or remember specific people, she said.
Some, like the Mark Alan Doherty scholarship, may also offer students several years of support.
About 40 Laramie County students receive it every year, said Robert Tiedeken, who is a member of the scholarship’s board.
The scholarship was created in memory of a student who graduated from Central and was an avid golfer, Laird said.
Students can reapply for most scholarships, but the Doherty scholarship has a process in place for students to renew it, Milatzo said.
“It’s one of our better scholarships,” he said. “Most scholarships are just for an academic year.”
LCCC student Haley McKee said she has found it very helpful in her studies.
“It’s been really nice,” she said. “With this scholarship, plus the LCCC presidential scholarship and the Hathaway, I haven’t had to pay anything. It really helps, especially with buying books.”
Being able to renew the scholarship has allowed her to continue to save for the next rounds of her education at UW, she said.
“It gives me a break knowing I’ll still have money when I start applying for vet school and will not have to take out loans right away,” she said.