FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) — In about three months, the University of Saint Francis and WANE 15 will announce the third winner of the school’s Pay It Forward scholarship. We caught up with the first recipient to find out how she is dealing with college life on a full four year ride.
“I really like being able to know that when I walk by an instructor they know my name,” said USF sophomore Crystal Grunawalt. “I really like that aspect and how the classes are really small and everyone is so friendly and says hi.”
Grunawalt was awarded the first USF Pay it Forward scholarship in February 2018.
“I felt overwhelmed because I wasn’t going to be able to go to Saint Francis because of my financial situation with my family but in my heart I knew this is where I belong,” reflects Grunawalt. “When I got it, it just meant that I was going to be able to pursue my dream of going to USF and getting the nursing degree and being able to be one of the USF nursing grads.”
USF will award its third full ride Pay It Forward scholarship in December. The president of the university told WANE 15 that when you add it all up, the scholarship amounts to more than a free college education.
“It gives you an opportunity to tell the world what you’ve been doing as a high school student,” said Sister M. Elise Kriss, President of the University of Saint Francis. “Whether in service and respect for the dignity of individuals, care creation, whatever it is that’s a passion for you as a high school student and how you’ve been using your time to benefit others, that’s really what this is all about.”
Grunawalt wants to benefit others by being a nurse, something she feels she would not have been able to do without Pay It Forward.
“It would have been really hard. I would’ve struggled a lot. I wouldn’t be where I am today,” said Grunawalt.
Where she is today is not only providing the keys to her success, but also helping her inspire her younger brother and sisters who live close by in New Haven.
“They can come visit me because I’m only about a half hour away. They’re super proud of me and it’s kind of funny that I have younger siblings and they’re like oh… now we have to get a scholarship. So it’s kind of funny… but they’re really proud of me.”
“Our tuition is $30,000 just for regular tuition,” said President Kriss. “So add that up and that is a $120,000 benefit to a family who could probably not afford that.”
“For anybody who’s trying to apply for this scholarship don’t think that oh there’s only one full and two halves, go for it. I was a receptionist trying to save up money when I got the phone call I was in the final three I was shocked,” said Grunawalt. “Just go for it because God is going to use this to influence your life in many different ways.”
WANE 15 is proud to once again partner with the University of Saint Francis in offering the Pay it Forward scholarship. You can apply here. The deadline is Nov. 1.