Words by Smiley Team
The NBA playoffs have begun and with that, the second year of scholarships from the Utah Jazz will soon be coming to a close.
Before the 2020-21 season, Utah Jazz owners Ryan and Ashley Smith pledged to offer a full college scholarship to Utah high school students for every win they get in the preseason, regular season, and postseason. By the end of the year that amounted to 61 total scholarships.
At the beginning of the 2021-22 season, the Jazz made the same pledge.
“We believe strongly in the power of education to change lives,” the Smiths said in a statement. “The Utah Jazz Scholars Program reflects our desire to help students from underrepresented groups who have historically received fewer resources and less support. It’s amazing to think about the fact that for every win the Jazz have this season, a student will get to go to college who would not otherwise have had the opportunity.”
The program has a specific focus, aiming to help underrepresented students and primarily, those in financial need.
The eligibility criteria are graduate of a Utah high school, a person from an underrepresented group, demonstrated financial need, and incoming freshman enrolling as a full-time student for the 2022-23 school year. There’s also a preference for first-generation college students.
So far this season, the Jazz will have over 51 scholarships to give out, from two preseason wins, 49 regular-season wins, plus however many they end up with in the playoffs. Scholarship applicants will be reviewed and selected by 10,000 Degrees, a nonprofit focused on college access and success programs.
“If one win is going to help one kid and his future generation, it’s really cool to be a part of that. And, it’s just important to us,” Ashley Smith said.
In total there’s been 113 scholarships earned and more to come as the Jazz season comes to a close.
DONATE: You can support 10,000 Degrees, a nonprofit supporting students from low income backgrounds.
SUPPORT: Also, check out Equal Opportunity Schools, a non-profit organization focused on helping underprivileged kids go to college.