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Campus Bookstore Doubles Number of Student Book Grant Award Recipients

The University of Arkansas at Little Rock Campus Bookstore awarded a total of $25,000 in student scholarships for the spring 2021 semester, a $15,000 increase over previous semesters.

This increase in the scholarship enabled the Bookstore Advisory Committee to select double the number of recipients to receive the book grant awards, adding much needed support for students within the UA Little Rock community. According to the bookstore manager Brenda Thomas, they were able to give out a total of 50 book grant awards.

Award recipients include 36 undergraduate students: Andrew Harden, Andrea Vargas, Ashley Gray, Bernard Gaer, Cami Lambert, Chaney Callahan, Clayton Hughes, Cory Gibson, Ebony Jackson, Faviola Alba, Haley Hankins, Jackson Jones, Jalen Black, Jasmine Morrow, Joy Allen, Kenedie St. Mary, Lakendra Mackey, Madison Harper, Makayla Harville, Makayla Machen, Maria McNeill, Meghan McClain, Morgan Morrow, Noah Eggensperger, Reanna Hamm, Shanna Hastings, Shuntele Carroll, Stephen Malec, Sydney Miller, Takeria Toombs, Teylen Patterson, Tiarra Richardson, Timothy Croft, Tonya Anderson, Victoria Corley, and Yashvi Adhvaryu.

In addition, the grant was awarded to graduate students Cassandra LaBahn, Eureka Ice, Kasha Greer, LaKeisha Matthews, Latoya McCoy, LeCole White, Viola Schaeffer; and William H. Bowen School of Law students Daniel Vega, Hayley Ferguson, Lina Nguyen, Morgan Topping, Nicole Schaum, Noel Ahaneku, and Sarah Dika.

“I felt ecstatic and thankful when I found out that I was awarded the book scholarship,” Matthews said. “I have never been awarded a scholarship like this before, and this award encouraged me about my learning opportunities for the upcoming semester.”

The recipients represent a multitude of majors from marketing to social work, finance, art, nursing and engineering, to name a few.

McNeill, an undergraduate studying health education and promotion, said this award allowed her to purchase books without any out-of-pocket expenses. 

“This, in turn, allowed me to work fewer hours during the semester and spend my time studying instead,” McNeill said.

Eggensperger, an undergraduate social work student, said this award gave him the opportunity to own his textbooks rather than rent them.

“This is invaluable as the content I’m currently learning will be the foundation of my career as a social worker,” Eggensperger said. “I’m honored to have been a recipient of this award.”

This award not only assists students with purchasing textbooks, but it also allows them to access their books on time and begin the semester prepared for classes.

“I was able to go directly to the bookstore and get what I needed to be equipped for the semester studies,” said White, a graduate social work student. “Thank you so much UA Little Rock!”

According to one recipient, this can make all the difference for students, especially now.

“Awards like this are important, especially during the trying times and uncertainty we are experiencing right now,” said Ice, a graduate student. “It takes away the burden of having to pay so much for books, which are expensive. Student debt is such a heavy burden for millions of people like me, especially minorities. I’m grateful for this opportunity.”

Ferguson, a Bowen law student, said that while this award was not enough to cover the entire cost of her books, it relieved a great deal of stress surrounding the furthering of her education.

“Law school textbooks are extremely expensive, and it was so hopeful to be able to have part of them paid through this award,” Ferguson said. “When I heard I got this award, I felt an instant relief of stress because I would not have to work extra hours in my second job to be able to afford my textbooks. I was able to relax and enjoy my Christmas break. Scholarships such as this one are so important, especially to law students, because the cost of furthering education is so expensive.”

As an undergraduate social work student, Mackey said this award allowed her to take care of her children’s needs rather than paying for her own supplies.

“With scholarships and grants, an individual can feel that they are worthy of receiving an education just like everyone else,” Mackey said. “Parents can feel like they are not taking money out of the house to continue their education.”

Eligibility for the scholarship included a minimum 2.5 GPA, six completed credit hours for graduate students, and nine completed credit hours for undergraduate students. The Bookstore Advisory Committee also considered leadership qualities, academic achievements, community service, and financial need.  

“When I received the email that I had been selected for the book grant award, I felt overjoyed, honored, and highly appreciative,” Carroll said. “This award afforded me the opportunity of alleviating the financial stressor, which allowed me to focus more on my academic progress and the continuation of my education goals.”

An undergraduate finance student echoed this statement, saying the recent pandemic has added significant financial strain on families such as his, but receiving this award allowed him to look forward to a successful semester.

“This book grant meant a lot to me as this was the first scholarship award I have received as a student,” Malec said. “Being able to purchase my books with this award has greatly helped me and my family. Thank you to all involved in making this book grant award happen. I appreciate it very much.”