At first, Jessica Jones ’23 thought it might be a spam email. She was at home the summer before her sophomore year at Carolina when an unexpected note from the UNC Office of Scholarships and Student Aid popped up in her phone congratulating her for receiving the Margerison Distinguished Scholarship.
“You work hard and you apply for grants and scholarships, and it’s very disheartening when you don’t get them,” Jones said. “I had just accepted that I was going to have to pay off loans, so it seemed too good to be true.”
But when she logged into her UNC-Chapel Hill student account, she saw that scholarship funds had already been credited to her account.
“I screamed, and my parents came running to make sure I was okay,” she said. “It was surreal. I told them I got a scholarship and my mom cried, and I think I was crying too.”
The scholarship has helped Jones, who is from Fayetteville, North Carolina, focus on her goals at UNC. An English major, Jones wants to graduate with all A’s and is considering a career in publishing or applying to law school. She is also considering using the scholarship’s study abroad stipend to travel to Japan or England. Jones expects to graduate with minimal debt from her first year.
For Jones, the scholarship not only meant freedom from worry about how to cover tuition, it also gave her a confidence boost from knowing that someone believes in her.
“Every aspect of my life has been touched by the scholarship,” Jones said. “I can’t even express how much it meant to me. It’s the best gift I’ve ever received and it felt like money that fell from heaven.”
After a pause to collect her emotions, she added: “Of course, I know the money did not actually fall from heaven. It was from generous people who made a choice to help me and students like me.”