Scholarships aimed at students of all kinds in specific fields


CORVALLIS - Students should continue to explore the range of options for financing their education after enrolling at Oregon State University by investigating "focused" scholarships, aimed at students in specific majors. Such scholarships can provide funds ranging from $100 to full tuition.

OSU offers hundreds of scholarships and fellowships for students pursuing specific fields of study. The College of Forestry, for instance, awards well over $100,000 each year to undergraduate forestry majors.

"Virtually all departments on campus offer assistance to students in their own programs," said Donna Vuchinich, manager of university scholarship programs in the OSU Office of Development. "While these awards are competitive, the field of applicants for them is smaller than it is for campus-wide scholarship money."

To encourage students from specific regions of Oregon to apply, dozens of these kinds of scholarships give preference to applicants from certain towns or counties in Oregon. The funds for regionally-oriented scholarships often come from alumni who wish to reinvest in their hometown communities.

Because of these regional preferences, it's important for students to investigate the possibility that their hometown origins might give them an edge over other candidates in their major field of study. For instance, the College of Agricultural Science awards $1,000 to an entering student (freshman or transfer) from the Woodburn area, plus $1,000 to an undergraduate from Benton County, and another $1,000 to an entering student from central Oregon.

Another factor to consider, which applies to students across the board, is that many major-specific grants do not require an extraordinarily high grade-point average. To give just two examples, the following scholarships have relatively low GPA hurdles to overcome, although they do consider financial need:

- The Judy M. DiStefano Memorial Scholarship of $1,500 goes to an undergraduate in women's studies with a minimum 2.5 GPA.

- The Charles M. Fischer Oregon Fryer Commission Scholarship, which awards $1,000 to an undergraduate in animal sciences, requires a minimum 2.75 GPA.

Other scholarships, however, do not require the applicant to show financial need: - Otto and Marie Hermann Memorial Scholarship provides $750 to $1,000 to a civil engineering senior, based on a minimum 2.5 GPA, regardless of need.

- The Louise Jackson Orner Memorial Scholarship, which awards a "varied" amount each year to a junior or senior business student, preferably female, requires a 3.0 GPA, but does not consider need.

"Whether they are incoming freshman, transfer students, or continuing OSU students, anyone who knows their major field of study should look into applying for scholarships in their department or college," said Vuchinich.

Application deadlines are rapidly approaching for most funding opportunities. While each award has a unique deadline, some applications may be due as early as Feb. 1.

To get more information about scholarship possibilities, students who know their intended field of study can contact that department. Or they may call the OSU Office of Development at 541-737-1677 or the Office of Admission and Orientation at 541-737-4411 for a referral to the appropriate contact.

Students can also view a guide to scholarships and fellowships - complete with requirements and contact e-mail information - on the Web at www.orst.edu/dept/develop/scholarships/index.html.