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Scholarship allows Yeager Scholar to chase his dreams

College students often face financial hardship while earning their degrees. Some take part-time jobs. Some take out loans. For many, it becomes quite cumbersome.

The chance at a scholarship can make all the difference in a student’s life. The Marshall Rises campaign opened new doors for students as it increased scholarship aid by 44 percent. Now more than ever, Marshall students can attend college with less strain to their wallets.

Nico Raffinengo, a sophomore from West Palm, Florida, is a Yeager Scholar. The Society of Yeager Scholars is a prestigious academic and leadership program. Yeager Scholars like Raffinengo are able to attend Marshall with a full scholarship all four years. For Raffinengo, the experience has been life changing, and it all occurred by happenstance.

“I didn’t really know about Marshall, and I found out about it through a colleague at my old high school. She was a Yeager Scholar and she told me about the scholarship opportunity,” Raffinengo said. “I decided that this was going to be the best opportunity that I think I could have.”

Raffinengo, who is studying international business and political science, has delved headfirst into campus life. He is part of Marshall’s pre-law club, becoming president this year. He is also a student senator for Marshall’s Student Government Association, as well as a presidential ambassador, which is a group of representatives of the university’s student body who assist the Office of the President at special events and meetings throughout the year. They also represent Marshall and its president in the community.

With all that Raffinengo has been able to accomplish so far during his time at Marshall, he is already looking ahead to his next steps. He has two goals. One is to be a recipient, and the first Marshall graduate, of the Rhodes Scholarship. The second is to attend law school.

The Rhodes Scholarship is a fully funded, full-time postgraduate award that enables young talent around the world to study at the University of Oxford for two or more years. Many representatives and senators in the United States Congress, as well as presidents and diplomats of other nations, have been Rhodes Scholars.

“It’s just one of the most amazing experiences that somebody can get in their educational career,” Raffinengo said. “The opportunities it provides is bar none. Because all the students are academically amazing and amazing people on top of that, they’re doing great projects in their communities. You have this insanely dedicated group of students who, when they graduate, are going to do wonderful things.”

Raffinengo said he owes his current and future success to the scholarships he’s received at Marshall.

“I think scholarships are something that can even out the playing field,” he said. “A lot of students can’t go to college because of the cost, and when people are able to donate to universities it lowers the cost for students overall, which allows more students to attend university and seek higher education.”