This year, a record number of students in College Possible received The Susan Thompson Buffett Foundation Scholarship. Eighty-eight seniors from 10 metro high schools were awarded.
The Buffet Scholarship is open to residents of Nebraska and includes full tuition, fees, books, room and board, personal expenses and transportation. Awardees are determined based on financial need, academic merit, a personal essay and strength of recommendations.
College Possible coaches help guide students through every step of the scholarship process.
“Our coaches are very aware of the qualifications and requirements, and we use those to encourage eligible students to apply. It’s a great opportunity for students,” said Carly Wacker, high school program manager. “Coaches dedicate time to individual students throughout the day where they can work with them on finding scholarships, writing essays and finding recommenders.”
Of the 88 seniors in College Possible awarded the Buffett scholarship, 25 are students from Omaha South Magnet High School. High school senior coach Kari Lundeen at Omaha South said all but one of the students she serves were eligible.
Students must have an expected family income $10,000 or less and do not need to be Pell Grant eligible to qualify.
“We started talking about it early on. It’s a big scholarship, and gives students a learning community. Many students also see the impact it’s had on local families,” Kari said.
Coaches go over tips about how to tell ones story, write concisely, and answer each question. Essay topic examples are: name a school accomplishment, why it was meaningful and what you learned; or describe an obstacle you overcame and how it will continue to impact you.
“Buffett has helped students who won see they are college material. It gives them a boost and helps them see that other people want to support them in their dreams, that they deserve a chance. Some students don’t think they belong, or that college is for them.”
Yexalen Yuliz Jaramillo is a Class of 2020 Omaha South Magnet High School graduate. She spent months working on the application, and said Kari helped her better understand financial aid and write a personal essay.
“My coach helped me throughout the scholarship process. She was patient and answered to all my concerns and doubts. I couldn’t stay after school, so I went to her during lunch and she made it work it work to help me as much as she can.”
Yexalen remembers the time she read the news. It was Thursday, March 23, at 3:16 p.m. She had received an email from her counselor encouraging her to check her email that day.
“I was updating my email every 3 seconds, ready to see the ‘Thank you for applying’ but to my surprise, I got the email and it said ‘Congratulations.’ I could not believe it. It was the news that brighten my days during these dark times.”
Buffett Scholarships can be used at any Nebraska public colleges, including University of Nebraska System, Nebraska State College System, and Nebraska Community Colleges.
Yexalen will go to University of Nebraska Omaha to get her bachelor’s degree and hopes to use Spanish to become a translator or liaison.
“It’s really important for me to go to college. It’s one of the only things that will help me have a secure future, financially, allow me to see other points of view and meet people that will be resourceful along the way. Making connections in our community is important.”