vb Janell Fitzgerald, Emily DeWalt

Texas State senior hitter Janell Fitzgerald (16) and setter Emily DeWalt (17) high five after the team scores a point over UTA, Thursday, Oct. 7, 2021, at Strahan Arena. The Bobcats won 3-0.

Texas State Athletics and the University Federal Credit Union (UFCU) have partnered to create a program to fund student scholarships.

The program, Score for Scholarships, contributes up to $1,000 to student-eligible scholarship funds. The scholarship initiative is funded by UFCU, which is granting Texas State $100,000 to give away in scholarships.

So far, the program has raised $30,000 of its $100,000 goal. Different amounts of money are added to the fund depending on the sport. For each Bobcat touchdown, $1,000 is added and $100 is added for each 3-pointer in men's and women's basketball, ace in volleyball and home run in baseball and softball.

Rhonda Summerbell, vice president of relationship management for UFCU, said Score for Scholarships is a good way to build excitement around Texas State sports while also helping out students financially.

"The motivation behind the program was to partner with the athletics team and [do] something fun and unique and exciting that students and everybody can rally around," Summerbell said. "Having something that everybody could be excited about [like] supporting the athletic teams, and then also through that also raising funds for scholarships ... whenever the Bobcats score, everybody wins, students win."

Summerbell hopes the program creates a closer community by unifying the Texas State community and its athletic teams.

"Sports have a way of creating community," Summerbell said. "The program hopes to unite the Texas State campus community around that common goal, in this case [with] touchdowns, aces, home runs and more and really feel Bobcat fans love for all things related to Texas State and grow scholarships. Scholarships are our key to education for a lot of students ... so this was a way of trying something fun scholarships."

Eddie Rivas, a senior offensive lineman for the Texas State football team, said it feels good to contribute to the university community after all the football program has done for him and his team.

"I think [Score for Scholarships] is cool ... anything we can do to help," Rivas said. "We get so much so it feels good to give back. As a lineman I just block people, so I'm not really scoring touchdowns, but I help the guys that do so I'm gonna do my best to help make sure they do."

Students who receive a scholarship are selected by the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships. There isn't a specific application students need to fill out to qualify for the funds from the program. Instead, all the candidates consist of students who have applied to Texas State's general scholarship. The scholarships will be awarded during fall and spring financial aid disbursements.

Tony Alebesun, an electrical engineering junior, is supportive of the program and thinks it is a positive thing for students and athletes while also giving students who need financial aid more opportunities to apply for it.

"A lot of the time you have scholarships that are targeted toward certain people only," Alebesun said. "Because of that, people don't even tend to apply for them. Knowing this one is for everybody and doesn't just pertain to one group makes it greater."

Alebesun also said that this program is a good way for athletes to help out their fellow students while also working hard to score and win.

"To be able to give back with something that's happening in the community is a good idea," Alebesun said. "Not only are [the athletes] helping out their team, they're also helping others. I think that's gonna make them want to play harder and be more competitive because they know at the end of the day 'if I score this touchdown this is gonna impact somebody.'"

For more information on the Score For Scholarships program or to check the current total for the fund visit https://www.ufcu.org/seg/score-for-scholars.

Timia Cobb contributed to this story. 

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