At W&L, scholarships make life-changing differences

Chase Isbell, Opinions Writer

College is simply not an option for all students—especially not for low-income students. It is no secret that college is expensive—incredibly expensive—and these high costs keep the door closed for students across this country. College prices have only continued to rise, along with income inequality, leaving the possibility of a college education even further out of reach for students who come from families without significant incomes and capital. Because of this, scholarships such as the Johnson serve an important purpose and act as an equalizing force in college admissions.

If I am being honest, I would not be able to attend a university of W&L’s caliber, or perhaps any university at all, if it were not for scholarships like the Johnson. College became an option for me, and I’m sure for plenty of other students, because of scholarships. Without them, this school is simply far too expensive for so many families.

The Johnson Scholarship did more than allow me to attend this university—it also provided me with a sneak-peak into college life. I had not visited any of the schools I seriously considered attending my senior year. It cost too much money to travel across the country to see any of my top choices. Johnson Weekend allowed me to visit Washington and Lee, and also stay on campus, meet my peers and attend classes. The weekend definitely convinced me of how great of an education I could get at this school. It also helped to show me that I could make it on my own at a college campus far from home.

Additionally, the Johnson is such a great opportunity because of the additional benefits the scholarship guarantees students. Even living on campus with a meal plan still comes with unexpected and expensive costs. The Johnson helps to cover these and not only ensures that I am enrolled at this school, but that I also have the resources I need to thrive here.

On top of it all, the Johnson has allowed me to seriously look at traveling abroad, something I had never thought I could possibly do because of the high fees that come with study abroad programs.

I can safely say that the Johnson has changed my life and provided me with opportunities I had never thought would ever be logistically possible. I am so grateful to the school for supporting scholarships like this. They really are incredibly important for giving students an opportunity to further their educations and shape their futures.