Scholarship Helps Online Students Cross the Finish Line

While students benefit from the flexibility that online programs provide, many face financial challenges that prevent them from completing their degree. For a hard-working student who is often juggling a family or working full or part-time, funding a degree can seem impossible and frustrating as some find themselves just a few credits short of finishing. Thus, Arizona State University and the Sun Devil Family Association created the Finish Line Scholarship tailored specifically to successful students who are balancing multiple responsibilities and deserve extra financial assistance to finish their online degree.

ASU Online undergraduate students, Samantha Lamb and Tunisia McElroy, were selected as the 2017 Finish Line Scholarship recipients for their demonstrated academic success and continued commitment to learning.

Finding the Right Degree & Following Your Dreams

Samantha Lamb has always been passionate about teaching, but early on she was encouraged by her family to pursue a different career path. She began a veterinary technician program and later transferred to a business program, but was still unhappy with her selections, as she knew her true passion was teaching others.

“After trying out two different degree programs, I knew teaching was my calling, but I could not afford to financially commit to another program,” said Samantha. “I then heard about ASU Online through a friend who was completing their Master’s and knew this flexible degree option was right for me.”  

Once eligible for financial aid, Samantha enrolled in ASU Online’s Bachelor of Arts in English program to follow her dreams of becoming an English teacher, but still faced hardships juggling the program and a full-time job.

“With the Finish Line scholarship, I will be able to stay on track for graduation without being financially constrained and cannot thank ASU and the Sun Devil Family Association enough for the funds needed to finish my degree,” she said.  

Finishing Your Degree on Your Own Terms

Similarly, Tunisia McElroy enrolled at ASU’s West Campus in 2004, but was unable to finish her degree due to financial issues and time constraints.

“With a full-time job, I was unable to commit to an on-campus degree program,” said Tunisia. “My grandmother was a part of ASU’s first African American graduating class, and it was my dream to follow in her footsteps by becoming a Sun Devil.”

Ten years later, Tunisia became an ASU Online student and enrolled in the Bachelor of Arts in Educational Studies. This proved to be a more flexible option given she was also juggling a full-time job. The financial aid from the Finish Line Scholarship will allow Tunisia to finish her degree and graduate on time.

“With financial help from the Finish Line Scholarship, I will be able to complete the final six courses needed for graduation and follow in my grandmother’s footsteps as an ASU graduate, 60 years later,” said Tunisia.



With help from ASU and the Sun Devil Family Association, Samantha and Tunisia won’t be held back due to financial obstacles and will finish their college degrees. Their stories are a testament to the challenges the growing number of ‘non-traditional’ students face, showcasing the flexibility and accessibility of online degree programs.

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