Getting a college degree has never been more expensive than it is today. And unless something changes, the burden will likely increase over the coming years.
Thanks to the generosity of strangers, however, one lucky group of students in Arizona will not have to know the stress of student loans, as they have all been granted a free ride to college! In a recent school-wide assembly, school officials at Bernard Black Elementary in Phoenix revealed that every third-grader at the school would be offered a full college scholarship.
That’s right: A college degree, completely free of cost. The 63 third-grade students were told they will receive free tuition, free books and even free room and board once they finish high school and begin college.
This gift was made possible by the Rosztoczy Foundation, a private family organization based in Arizona. With their College Promise program, the Rosztoczy Foundation will pay for these students to attend college for free.
The Bernard Black Elementary school posted about the announcement on Facebook on April 26:
“The goal, through the generous offer of this family, is that finances will not be the barrier, that college is an option for every third-grader right here at Bernard Black,” said Quintin Boyce, the Roosevelt school district superintendent, WEAU 13 News reported.
The parents had no idea that their third-graders were about to receive the gift of a lifetime.
“I thought they were going to get a little award or something, like it was a little banquet,” said a parent to MSN News.
Instead, they learned that their children were going to be able to attend college for free, with only one stipulation: They need to stay in Arizona in order to receive the funds.
This is not the first time that the Rosztoczy Foundation has given Arizona students the chance to attend college for free. In 2012, they offered third-graders the same gift, making it possible for students like Erika Valadez to be able to work toward their dreams.
“I think I would have taken a few gap years to try to earn some money,” Valadez told The Washington Post about what would have happened if she didn’t have her tuition paid for by the Rosztoczy Foundation. “Now I won’t graduate with over $100,000 in debt.”
Regarding the class of 2031 and their future college dreams, superintendent Boyce said that the April 25 ceremony was an emotional affair and one of the highlights of his career.
“There wasn’t a dry eye in the house,” Boyce told The Washington Post. “It was a really precious moment. In my 20 years in education, it was one of the most memorable — if not the most memorable — experience I’ve had.”
This story originally appeared on Simplemost. Checkout Simplemost for additional stories.