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The vital role of scholarships

by Catalina Myers  |   

View the Giving Day slideshow on SmugMug.

Scholarships are vital to ensuring students succeed from the moment they step onto campus as freshmen to when they receive their diploma on graduation day. From 2017 to 2020, more than 2,000 UAA students have been awarded over $3.8 million to ensure their academic success through four-year scholarships to undergraduate research support, and from disciplines from business and accounting to engineering and nursing.

Scholarships ensure that many of UAA’s students, whether they are traditional, nontraditional or first-generation college students, have the financial support to achieve their dreams of academic success and receive their diploma on graduation day.

For Al Asuncion, a senior pursuing a double major in accounting and finance, the Seawolf Opportunities Scholarship, a fund that celebrated its 10th anniversary and has benefited 248 students in the last decade, allowed him to pursue his dreams of attaining a university degree in a high-demand field.

“SOS allowed me to focus on my personal and academic success,” said Asuncion, a first-generation college student from Kodiak. “If I had not received this scholarship, I would have to find ways to fund my post-secondary education. This scholarship allows me to just focus on my academics and helps other students receive scholarships as well.”

Although Asuncion’s focus is razor sharp on keeping up with his academics, he values giving back. As a first-generation college student, he said he and his family didn’t know or have the resources to help him budget for pursuing his post-secondary education. It’s something Asuncion hasn’t forgotten and a big reason why he chose to attend UAA — he wanted to give back immediately to his community while attending college and after he graduated. 

“With the SOS scholarship, the financial stress is gone and has allowed me to have time to share my knowledge with other students,” said Asuncion. He’s been able to make a meaningful impact on other students, who like him, are trying to navigate how to meet the financial cost of pursuing their dreams in higher education. “This scholarship has not only impacted my academics but how I approach other students and provide support so they can receive scholarships similar to mine and achieve their own personal academic success.”


If you would like to help students like Al, consider making a gift through Giving Day. You can donate to the UAA General Scholarship fund or to any campus, college or program. 

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