Top NavTop NavTop Nav

Scholarship has 'a net value many times the actual amount' - Thomas Rule's SOS story

Thomas Rule headshot

Senior Thomas Rule says "thanks" to the SOS donors for making it possible for him to graduate this fall.

  • October 11, 2011 11:00am

Senior Thomas Rule, a philosophy major, will graduate this quarter with support from the "Save Our Students" scholarship fund. Rule, who took first place in the philosophy department's "Prestigious Bassen Prize" in June, has worked hard to pay for college with a combination of scholarships, loans, savings, and income from his job at a tutor, but after fees went up this summer, he was looking at even more debt in his future, until the SOS scholarship was announced.

My sincerest thanks go out to the architects and donors behind the Save Our Students Scholarship fund. Their generous response to my request for financial aid has not only allowed me to afford tuition costs and textbooks for this, my graduating quarter here at CSUEB, but helped ensure a smooth transition through the otherwise financially uncertain period between obtaining a bachelor’s degree and entering graduate school, and will inevitably relieve me of enormous financial burdens in the future.

When transferring into CSUEB last fall, I found myself required to apply for federal aid as a dependent (I was age 23 at the time) despite having no promise of aid from my family. As a result, I had only a limited amount in unsubsidized loans and personal savings to apply toward my student fees — which were quickly depleted over the 2010-11 academic year, even as I supplemented the total with multiple scholarships and income earned as a part-time tutor.

The federal grants I had received when returning to school this fall quarter with the intent to graduate proved insufficient to cover the outstanding balance on my student account by a notable margin. Luckily, a friend referred me to the SOS fund, which was able to provide the difference, allowing me breathe a sigh of relief and focus on my academic tasks.

Upon graduation, I hope to gain admission to a doctoral program in philosophy as a necessary step toward my long term goal of becoming a university professor in the discipline. Unfortunately, the process of completing graduate school and gaining regular employment promises to be a very time consuming and precarious one. Meanwhile, I have already begun to accrue interest on my loans, and will only continue to do so during that entire period. The SOS scholarship will end up substantially reducing my future debt because of the additional loans it saved me from having to take out this quarter (which would have magnified my debt over the long period between now and the time I can begin paying it down).

This scholarship was a significant investment in my future, holding a net value many times the actual amount I was gifted.

With this in mind, I prepare to complete my bachelor’s degree at the end of this quarter and move directly into a self-sufficient living and working situation immediately afterward; something I had previously feared to be impossible for financial reasons. Now I can patiently await possible graduate school admission offers while keeping a lid on my debt. I once again thank the donors associated with the Save Our Students Scholarship fund for making all this possible.

—Thomas Rule

More than 150 other students applied for SOS scholarships, and there's still time to help. Contribute to the fund before tomorrow, Wednesday Oct. 12, and more scholarships can be awarded to students this quarter, to help. Give online and Save our Students today!

© California State University, East Bay. All Rights Reserved.