ALAMOSA – In less than four years, Alex Lopez, John Owsley, and Brittany Wilson will graduate from Adams State University with little or no student loan debt.
Lopez, an Alamosa native, said taking summer classes helped him to graduate early. Wilson agreed, and recommends taking general education courses or prerequisites in the summer. “You can get some of those base level classes out of the way to have a semester focused on things you are really interested in,” she said.
Registration for Adams State 2018 summer classes begins March 26. Students can take classes online or on campus, and they can apply for summer Federal Pell Grant to help pay for classes.
Owsley saved money and worked his “butt off” to pay for his summer classes. “Recently the federal government opened the Pell Grant back up for students taking classes in the summer,” Owsley said. “This is a great opportunity. Grants do not have to be paid back.”
All three have also been officers of the Adams State student government group Associated Students and Faculty, AS&F. Lopez, president of the organization, said he grew from his successes but “also learned a lot from the mistakes I made.” Owsley, AS&F vice president of external affairs and also from Alamosa, represented the student body as the Adams State Board of Trustees student trustee. “I have learned a lot about representing people and about politics.”
Although Wilson, AS&F vice president for internal affairs, never anticipated becoming involved in AS&F, it became one “of the most rewarding experiences throughout my time at Adams, professionally and personally. I have grown as a leader and as person and I made connections and relationships with people that I value and will last a lifetime. It allowed me to connect with faculty and administration as well as understand the true value of the Adams State education, which extends beyond the classroom.”
An art and psychology major from Colorado Springs, Wilson said her professors always provided extra help if needed. “They are also very personable and help to build connections and almost mentorships like a network for the future.”
Owsley and Lopez had similar experiences in their chosen majors. Both are majoring in accounting, with a minor emphasis in taxation. “Professors Rogers and Abeyta have gone above and beyond in helping their students succeed and stay on track for a job right out of college or pursuing a master’s degree,” Lopez said.
A weekly study group in the accounting program was beneficial to Owsley. He also appreciated mentors outside the classroom like Aaron Miltenberger, director of Student Life, and Ken Marquez, vice president of Student Services. “I could always go to them,” Owsley said.
Wilson and Owsley will graduate this spring, after only three years. Lopez will finish up in December 2018, after three-and-a-half years. Summer courses helped the three finish their degrees sooner and start them on their chosen career paths. Owsley accepted a summer paid internship in Washington D.C., and then plans on earning a master’s degree from Denver University in taxation law. Wilson is in the process of interviewing for graduate schools and applying for assistantships.
Lopez eventually wants to pursue a master’s degree as well. As the first in his immediate family to earn a college degree, he appreciates the options for opportunities in the professional field.
Year-round Pell Grant now available
Beginning with the 2017-2018 academic year, an eligible student may now receive full Federal Pell Grant for summer 2018 even if they received a full Federal Pell Grant during the fall and spring semesters.
Adams State will review student’s summer financial aid applications in mid-March to determine a student’s estimated eligibility for summer financial aid, including a summer Pell award. Summer awards will be based on full-time enrollment (12 or more credit hours).
“This is a wonderful opportunity for Non-Resident undergraduate students since they pay in-state tuition rates for summer classes,” said Phil Schroeder, Adams State Financial Aid director.
Caption: Adams State AS&F Officers John Owsley, Brittany Wilson, and Alex Lopez will graduate early thanks to summer classes./Courtesy photo