Joshua Mannery, the Associated Student Body (ASB) director of campus outreach, introduced a new scholarship opportunity for students to help them pay for textbooks this semester.
Four recipients — Claudia Chambliss, Eliza Peters, Alexis Bass and Juanisha Finnie Kennedy — received $250 each to either pay for or reimburse them for the money they had spent on textbooks and supplies this semester.
Mannery came up with the idea after seeing the impact and the success of the Parade of Beauties Scholarship, which is the entry fee and dress, funded by ASB.
“I appreciated the goodwill behind the (Parade of Beauties scholarship), but I realized that extending that idea to some issues on campus like affordability could potentially benefit a lot more students,” Mannery said. “So, I took the first issues that kept coming back up in the discussions I was in, in this case textbooks, and ran with the idea.”
Mannery wanted to emphasize the positive effects this kind of scholarship has on students, providing them with the chance to offset the rising costs of college.
Mannery also sought to promote ASB, highlight the untold stories of certain students and focus on issues that are relevant to the average student.
The application process was simple, according to Bass, who was one of the recipients. She saw information about the scholarship on Instagram and decided to apply. She said the application required putting together a basic Google document about herself, including her major and what her plans are for her future.
Mannery said the application was open to all students. The Office of Financial Aid decided upon the recipients; two of them were chosen based on leadership and merit, while the other two were based on merit and need for financial aid.
“So whether that was being a student leader, community change agent or even just someone who succeeded against hard conditions, we took all of that into account,” Mannery said.
Bass said she is grateful for the scholarship because it allowed her to be reimbursed for the money she had already spent on books.
“I was able to put the money into savings, and I will be using it next semester for books,” Bass said. “It helped a lot. I have already taken out so many loans for so many other things, I just wanted less debt. Books are expensive here.”
Kennedy, one of the other winners, agreed. She said she has spent over $500 on books in previous semesters.
“It has been a blessing not having to (pay) out of my pocket to purchase textbooks this semester,” Kennedy said.
According to an independent research firm, the Student Monitor, college students spent an average of $205 on textbooks for the fall of 2019. Although that number has decreased from $265 in fall 2018, students like Bass still feel the effects of the costs.
Mannery said he is proud of the steps the student government has been taking to fix student problems. Although he said they cannot solve the high prices of college overnight, Mannery believes that they are moving in the right direction.