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Amy Zhao

Need Level

4.3/5

Amount Needed

$4,500

Merit Level

3.4/5

Class Standing

Junior

College GPA

3.79

Major

Public Policy

USC

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Personal Statement

In 2019, the University of Southern California was exposed for perhaps one of the biggest college admission scandals in U.S. history. To no surprise, USC is not special. It is one of many universities perpetuating a system that places youth within a higher socioeconomic bracket at an unfair advantage. Whether a student is admitted based on the notoriety associated with their family name, a check used to fund a University building, or one signed to the admissions office, the influence of money on the education system is undeniable. While education is supposed to pave an accessible path to success for students from all backgrounds, a damaged system where individuals are allowed to buy their way to the top has made it another false hope. As a low-income student attending a very prestigious university, it has been very easy for me to not only point out the lack of socioeconomic diversity at USC, but the scarce amount of resources available for my demographic. More needs to be done both within the University's admissions process and for low-income students struggling to keep their spot at such an expensive institution. There should be visible resources on campus for the low-income population, including reduced costs for campus health services, affordable off-campus housing, and free online access to required books. While resources like these may not exist for me, I have found that scholarships and fellowships have helped lift several of my own burdens. While I have struggled in the previous years to support myself at school —facing difficulties affording food and basic necessities — as a rising college junior, housing insecurity is yet another obstacle I face. Since USC does not guarantee housing for upperclassmen, and with the lack of affordable housing options available, I was pressured to sign a lease I knew I may not be able to afford. Thus, this summer, I actively searched for scholarships and summer work opportunities to help offset the costs of off-campus housing. In my efforts, I was capable of raising $9,000 towards my lease. Nonetheless, USC threw yet another curveball I was unprepared for. In the midst of COVID-19, the financial strains the global pandemic placed on the university prompted USC to cut spending across the board. One of those spending cuts translated to a reduction in financial aid, decreasing my package by $10,000. My only options to pay off this debt include taking out large loans or using the money I saved for summer rent towards tuition and fees. Seeing my financial aid package this year made me feel hopeless. As if, no matter how hard I work, and despite how much I save, my socioeconomic background made attaining financial stability an unrealistic option for me. Thus, while a scholarship from Greykea would help alleviate these newfound financial stresses, it would also restore the hope I lost as a student aiming to make a better life for themselves through education.

Student Info

Ethnicity:

Citizenship:

Gender:

Veterans:

LGBTQ+ :

Black or African American

Marital Status:

U.S. Citizen

First Generation:

Female

Personal Dependents:

No

Family Dependents:

Single

Yes

0

2

No

High School GPA:

Graduation Year:

Major GPA:

4.12

SAT/ACT Score:

2022

Open to Mentorship:

3.86

High School Name:

n/a

Yes

East Lansing High School