Students of Vanguard College Preparatory School working on school assignments.

The graduating senior class at Vanguard College Preparatory School in Waco, Texas pulled in an impressive $5.62 million in scholarship funding according to the Waco Tribune, a local news outlet.

The 45 graduating Vanguard students set a new record in school history by bringing in the most scholarship money than any other senior class at Vanguard. While the class secured more than $5 million, none of the awards were full-ride scholarships interesting enough.

As reported by the Waco Tribune, 51 percent of the 45-strong, senior class received over $100,000 in scholarship funding. Additionally, 64 percent received more than $50,000.

This isn’t the first occasion where this school’s seniors raked in a ton of cash either. Two years ago, the graduating class set a precedent by pulling in more than $4.8 million in scholarship funding.

Such success warrants a bit of discussion, and the only answers are coming from the scholarship winners themselves. Some students credit Vanguard’s college preparatory course as well as the writing skills they learned in English class. For plenty of scholarships, the most important part of the application process is the admission essay. It often serves as a distinguisher among applicants, especially if multiple students have similar GPAs or test scores.

At Vanguard, teachers review essays and teach critical thinking skills as students read around eight books a year. The process begins in the seventh grade and by their senior year, students have the writing skills needed for college. And incoming seniors hand in their college essays in May so they can be worked on and fine-tuned well before the application deadline.

At any rate, stories such as the Vanguard graduating class’ success are not common; in fact, these Vanguard students can count themselves among some of the luckier college applicants in terms of financial aid. Scholarship money does not require repayment, but other forms of financial aid such as student loans require repayment with interest.

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According to data from The Student Loan Report, nearly 70 percent of college students have taken out student loans, scholarships or not. These student borrowers currently account for over $1.4 trillion in student debt, and almost 11 percent of the 40 million plus borrowers are in default. The issue of student loans has been addressed by many, including the government and even pop stars.

For starters, legislation has cropped up on both the federal and state government stage. In the House of Representatives, a federal student loan refinancing bill, H.R. 1614, was introduced in an attempt to offer low rate options to current borrowers with student debt.

The federal refinancing is a solution held in high regard by many politicians, and many view it as a necessary government program that is missing. Some state politicians recognized this and attempted to implement their own programs.

Earlier in the year, Cory Mason, a Wisconsin State Representative, introduced a refinancing bill to help plagued borrowers. Like many political initiatives, it met opposition; in fact, similar bills from prior years in the state failed to become law.

In January this year, a similar story happened in Virginia when state Republicans shot down an attempt at implementing student loan refinancing for local student borrowers.

Efforts to help with financial aid and student loans aren’t solely a government endeavor. As mentioned earlier, a few different pop stars a celebrities have tried helping cut down on debt. Most notably, Nicki Minaj paid off the student debt of several lucky fans, and rapper Dee-1 has made efforts to educate college prospects about avoiding student debt.

While efforts by lawmakers and celebrities alike are admirable and necessary to a degree, the success of Vanguard’s students may be a testament to the effectiveness of proper guidance prior to college.

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