Onalaska High School reports record number of scholarships

Recent Onalaska High School graduates are receiving a record amount of college scholarships. The district said more than $1.2 million worth of scholarships have been awarded to its graduating seniors.

Students had to report the number of scholarships they’re receiving by a May deadline. District officials said some people may not have handed in that information in time, so the total amount awarded to the students could be even higher.

The money comes from a variety of local, state, regional and national scholarship opportunities. Educators said there’s a reason why the number of scholarships is on the rise as people see the real value of a great education.

The number of students from the graduating class receiving a scholarship is pretty impressive.

“Almost 50 percent of our students were recognized with at least one time with a scholarship,” said Bridgett Hubbard, scholarship coordinator for Onalaska High School.

Some of the awards were based on merit while others were based on financial need, participation in extracurricular activities or other criteria.

“Perhaps they have to have a certain grade point average. Maybe they have to write additional essays,” Hubbard said.

She said one of the reasons for the record number of scholarships might have to do with more students understanding there’s a scholarship for anyone. And with rising college costs, every penny saved will count.

“The monetary amount of the scholarship could mean assistance with books, helping to get started that first semester,” Hubbard said.

Many of the scholarships came from local organizations looking to invest in other community members.

“In the city of Onalaska and those who have attended our school district, we have a lot of people, alumni associations and individuals who’ve given that money back to those students,” Hubbard said.

Hubbard isn’t the only one seeing this trend.

“The UW-La Crosse Foundation Scholarship pool has grown by over $200,000 in the past year, allowing us to award even more dollars to students that are certainly deserving of that and helping them finance their education,” said Corey Sjoquist, admissions director for UW- La Crosse.

The foundation gave out more than $1 million in scholarships for the last school year. That money is coming from generous community members.

“They see what good work is happening here and allowing other students to come and gain an education at UWL and then go off and do fantastic things,” Sjoquist said.