KU offers full-ride scholarship to Topeka high-schooler blogging on college choice for NY Times

We told you last month about Leobardo Espinoza Jr., a high-school senior in Topeka who’s preparing to be a first-generation college student and blogging about his school choice for the New York Times. At that time, he’d just written that he had visited KU, but he had applied to a bunch of other schools and wondered if he might like to go somewhere farther away.

Well, turns out KU has introduced a $40,000 wrinkle to his story.

Today, Espinoza has another blog post telling the story of how two KU representatives came to his high school and offered him a four-year, full-ride scholarship as he stood at the front of a room full of classmates.

One official told him folks at KU had been reading his blog entries, looked him dead in the eye and said, “We want you at the University of Kansas,” he writes. Then Espinoza looked inside the envelope handed to him to see an offer for a four-year scholarship that would pay for all of his tuition and fees, plus an allowance for books.

That would be worth somewhere in the neighborhood of $40,000 over the course of four years, depending on what happens with tuition rates this summer. (See KU’s cost calculator here.)

But here’s the thing: Espinoza’s still not sure about going to KU. He sounds genuinely grateful about the offer, but he says he’s always considered KU a “fallback school.” According to a chart at the bottom of the entry, he’s waiting to hear back about applications to Yale, Stanford, Brown, Washington-St. Louis and others.

All in all, I’d suggest giving the entry a read, as it lays his thought process bare in a way that’s pretty compelling, even touching. He’s pretty obviously conflicted about this. No matter how you feel about the fact he’s not jumping on an offer of free tuition for four years at KU, you have to hand it to him for being so transparent about his decision and taking his future so seriously.

I’ll be following along to see what happens.

I’m afraid I can’t offer you $40,000 if you submit a KU news tip to merickson@ljworld.com, but I will be very appreciative, I promise.