Cal U freshman loses her $10-thousand dollar scholarship due to a technicality

Sarah Seader shares her story as to why she lost her scholarship


Veonna King, Editor-in-Chief

Cal U freshman Sarah Seader’s scholarship was taken away just days after classes had already started. The scholarship was granted in March but recently rescinded. Seader lost her scholarship due to a technicality from the Washington County Community Foundation.

The donor deemed Seader ineligible after the fact because she got her high school diploma from a Pennsylvania cyber school. Seader said she was upfront about attending cyber school and does not understand why her eligibility suddenly changed.

“Back in March I had asked them about the website requirements which state you have to be from a certain school district and I asked because even though I live within the school district, I attend PA Cyber and they said that I could still apply,” said Seader.

After Seader was awarded the scholarship in May, she was sent a letter and it was published within the foundation’s newsletter. Then in August, the money was sent directly to Cal U. Shortly after classes started on Aug.23, Seader received an email from the financial aid office stating that the donor was requesting the money back.

“This is crazy because the $10,000 was supposed to be split within 4 years and I would have been fine for all 4 years,” said Seader.

The Washington County Community Foundation president Bestie Trew says the pandemic changed the way scholarships are awarded, and some donors make exceptions for cyber school. But others, like this donor, do not.

 “Scholarship cycles are always a challenge for our foundation because we receive far more requests for scholarships than we are able to support, and we must adhere to the sometimes very specific and detailed criteria established by our donors, ” said Trew.

Currently, Seader’s plan now is to reason with the foundation and try to keep her scholarship while she has campus work-study. In the process, she hopes that students will see her story and hope to fight back if they end up in a similar situation.

“If you feel like it’s wrong and you know it’s wrong, make sure that you have the information and that you’re protecting yourself, ” said Seader.