Statistics show more than 20 million Americans attend college every year. About 60 percent of those students borrow money annually to cover costs. By graduation day, billions of students are in a whole lot of debt.
"I don't know how they go to school and have worry about being financially strapped. I'm truly blessed to have my college paid for," said Marisa Stickel, Fairmont State senior.
Stickel is one of the lucky ones.
She said she has spent hours on end applying for scholarships and working hard to keep her grades up.
"Now I can go into grad school and not have to worry about having to have a large amount of debt when I do graduate from graduate school," Stickel said.
Fairmont State University prides itself on the scholarship opportunities it can offer to its students.
"Many students, it's the difference between coming to college. For others, it's between borrowing more money or getting a scholarship. Many students are already aware of that and often are able to come with some from high school. But then we are able to augment that with institutional scholarships," said Cynthia Hudok, Director of Financial Aid at FSU and Pierpont Community & Technical College.
The outstanding federal student loan debt in the United States is more than $800 billion.
Students said scholarships are the best way to avoid becoming a part of that statistic.
"If it weren't for the scholarships, I would be trying to put myself through college. I would be trying to minimize the debt. So I would be working 40 hours a week on top of going to school 18 hours. The scholarships give me time. Time to study and focus on school," said Mitch Moore, Fairmont State sophomore.
Fairmont State encourages parents and students to get in touch with your university's financial aid office.
"Keep in touch with your guidance councilor, look on your own for local scholarships," Stickel said.
"Call the schools. Talk to the financial staff at the school where their son or daughter is interested in going," Hudok added.