The average cost of tuition at a public university is now costing students like 18 year old River Travis more than $13,000 in 2012, according to the US Department of Education. That does not include room and board, which means the first year physics student from Kent State University will need every financial break he can get.
"I have no outside help. I'm doing all this myself," he told Call for Action Reporter Lorrie Taylor.
Travis was hoping to pay for his education with scholarships, and he did win a couple, but he said it was so difficult finding anything for which he could qualify that he was forced to take out loans.
"It’s really tedious,” he said.
What Travis did not realize, until he ran into Taylor on the campus of Kent State, was all the scholarships he could ever want had been loaded into a database on the University’s web site.
"There are literally millions of scholarships out there," said David Garcia, Director of Enrollment Management.
Garcia said the variety of scholarships available to students is endless many go unclaimed.
"There are all kinds of unique scholarship criteria out there that students may not have thought of," he said.
For example, there are scholarships for people less than five feet tall or students born in 1994.
"These are just basic $1000 scholarships or more for having a certain GPA," said Travis, as he scrolled through the search results.
Students simply need to log on to the University’s web site and check a few boxes. The database narrows millions of possibilities to whatever fits the student’s profile. Travis said he found more than 60.
"I was quite impressed, actually, I had no idea this existed," he said.
All scholarships come with submission deadlines so students are encouraged to submit applications as early as possible.
"It makes me feel secure. It makes me feel like I know exactly how I'm going to get through the rest of my life," said Travis, as he considered the free money waiting to be claimed.
"So we just helped you find some real money?" asked Taylor, "A lot of it, actually, yes," he said, smiling.