HISD Seniors Rake Almost 93 Million In Scholarship Cash

The Houston Independent School District says more high school seniors are getting more money to help pay for college. As David Pitman reports, HISD has set a new record in the amount of scholarship money students will receive to pursue a higher education.

More than 5,100 graduating seniors in the HISD earned a total of nearly $93 million dollars in scholarship and grant money this year.  That's $16 million more than in 2009.   June Giddings is the district's manager for college careers and guidance.  She says the larger sum is the result of a more coordinated effort among school counselors to inform students about the money that's there for the taking.

"And encouraging all the students to submit and complete the applications.  So the counselors and college access coordinators, they did a great job following up with the students, assisting to complete the scholarships, and just really being able to track the information much better this year."

Baylor University ponied up the most scholarship money, with nearly $3.7 million to be divided among 126 students.  Houston Baptist, UH, A&M, and UT were also in the top five.  Giddings says the ongoing recession nudged more graduating seniors to seek help paying for tuition that continues to rise faster than inflation.

"We probably had students that maybe not have looked for scholarships in the past, feeling like their parents may had put away savings for going to college.   Probably tapped into more scholarships because of the economy."

Giddings says the district would like to break the $100 million dollar barrier next year.  She says HISD intends to hold scholarship fairs in the fall, and train local counselors on how their students can write better application essays.

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David Pitman

Local Host, Morning Edition

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