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Thursday, December 18, 2014

Scholarship lifts burdens

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By Ardee Napolitano / New Mexico Daily Lobo

UNM student Rebekah Bibb at the College of Education building in the morning of Jan. 27. Bibb is one of 479 students this spring semester who depend on the UNM Scholars scholarship. The scholarship is partially funded by the Legislative Lottery Scholarship, which is in danger of losing funds because of deteriorating lottery sales in recent years.

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Freshman Rebekah Bibb is no stranger to moving.

Raised in an Army family with four other siblings, Bibb lived in Virginia, Alabama, Washington, Oregon and several towns in New Mexico before her moved to Santa Fe, just in time for her to enter kindergarten.

Although Bibb left the Land of Enchantment and attended high school in Washington D.C., she said she returned to New Mexico to spend time with family and pursue higher education at UNM.

“This is my home,” Bibb said. “This is my headquarters.”

Bibb is one of 479 students this semester who received the UNM Scholars scholarship. According to the University Scholarship website, UNM Scholars recipients receive approximately $6,248 per year, with the tuition portion of the scholarship funded by the Legislative Lottery Scholarship.

Before Bibb made her decision to attend UNM, she said she was concerned about college tuition. Although Bibb was the third sibling in her family to enter college, she was the first to seek financial aid. Her oldest brother attended Liberty University thanks to his GI Bill and her second brother attended Full Sail University thanks to their father’s GI Bill.

“Both of my older brothers had their tuition covered, and they didn’t have to take out any loans, so that left me going, ‘Oh, I have to look for scholarships,’ and I knew I didn’t want to do loans,” she said. “I didn’t care what I had to do. I just wanted to get out of college debt-free because I didn’t want to have that sitting on my shoulders for however long.”

However, because Bibb has family members in New Mexico and her father is a New Mexico Guardsman, she said she was able to apply for the UNM Scholars scholarship.

The scholarship has helped lift a financial burden off of her parents, she said.

“The big thing is, I didn’t have to take out a loan, and they can also still help out the other two kids still in school,” she said.
Bibb, entering her second semester, said her scholarship has helped her pursue a career in nursing.

“I’ve always loved taking care of people, especially with my little brother when he would get sick or he would get hurt. I would just love taking care of him. That was one time where we would actually get along when we were little,” she said. “I’ve always had the gift of compassion and empathy for others that I feel would be best in the nursing environment.”

With solvency solutions for the scholarship at the center of this year’s legislative session, Bibb said senators and representatives should consider raising the GPA requirement for the scholarship.

Having graduated from her high school with a 3.98 GPA, Bibb said a student’s potential for success can be found in the classroom.

“What you’re doing in the classroom, that is representative of are you taking the time to study your tests, are you doing what you need to do to get where you want to go,” she said.