Hayatullahi Folorunsho Mudathir, a 400-level student of English Language at the Usmanu Danfodiyo University, Sokoto (UDUS), was supposed to pay a tuition fee of N44,900 for the 2022/2023 academic session. However, when the school released the registration fee list in his portal, he realised that he would be paying the sum of N68,300, a 52% increment.
In his worries over the increment and being a child from a middle-class family, he received astonishing news. The Youth Center had selected him as a beneficiary of a need-based academic scholarship award, a dream come true for Hayatullahi.
The Youth Center organisation comprises a group of committed Nigerian citizens working to create academic and professional development opportunities for students with financial needs committed to giving back to their communities.
According to the organisers, the need-based academic scholarship program started in 2018, offering a one-year academic scholarship, housing support, and check-ins to assist those selected for the scholarship.
The organisation’s first scholarship in 2019 received over 400 applications, and another application opened in 2021. A year and some months after the application deadline, this scholarship board shortlisted up to four students of UDUS, including Hayatullahi.
“The application was not easy” — Hayatullahi
While expressing his joy about the selection, Hayatullahi said, “I had forgotten about it because we had applied a year and some months ago, but when I received the congratulatory mail, I was surprised and overwhelmed with joy. The scholarship covers my tuition fee of N68,300 and the accommodation fee of N15,090, making N83,390 altogether,” he said.
When asked about his challenges while applying for the scholarship, he added that it was brain-tasking.
“The application was not easy at all. We had to compose essays of not less than 300 words in each response to the questions asked. Thanks to Muhydeen Kolawole, Taoheed Adegbite and Bashir Kola Turawa, who all fed us with patience and put us through the application process,” he said.
He added that when the organisers contacted him, they apologised for the delay in the selection.
“The lady congratulated me on the phone and apologised that the selection took so long because of the 2022 ASUU strike that lingered for eight months, making them wait for most of the concerned schools to begin another academic session before contacting their beneficiaries,” he added.
He encouraged students to always apply for educational programs, including scholarships.
“Students should always shoot their shots! Scholarship might not come first, but when they volunteer, they will be exposed to many hidden opportunities. Our contributions to societies were what they judged,” he advised.
Like Hayatullahi, another recipient is Jumoke Esuola Aishat, a 400-level Sociology student at UDUS. Despite the hurdles in the application process, she also expressed her excitement about being one of the scholarship beneficiaries.
“We wrote essays of 300 words, which was the first stage and followed by a virtual interview with the panel of judges on Zoom. It wasn’t easy because school was in session during the application period, and we were deep into lectures. So, I postponed the application until a day after a class when I created time to complete the application.
“For being selected, I thank God Almighty that the burden of this session’s school fees and hostel fees has been lifted off my parents, especially when the school fee has now been increased from N36,500 to N63,800, and hostel fees from N10,090 to N15, 090. The payment focus will now only be on my sibling in the university,” she said.
Another UDUS student selected for the scholarship program is Abdulrasheed Hammad, a 500-level student of Law. He also expressed his joy in being chosen.
“It excites me to be among the awardees. This is my first academic scholarship award after multiple fruitless opportunities, and I love the fact that the scholarship is based on our contributions and impacts within and outside the campus, which makes it unique because it gives me a sense of belonging.
Hammad’s school fees were increased from N49,000 to N86,300, and he was worried about this.
“Many thanks to the organisers for seeing me worthy of the academic scholarship award, ready to pay my school and hostel fees,” Hammad said.
This reporter confirmed that the selection of the scholarship beneficiaries was delayed because of the industrial action embarked on by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) in 2022. This was disclosed by the organisation’s Executive Director, Emma Omeize while appreciating donors in their Impact Report.
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