Last summer, the NCAA created an interim policy that allowed college student athletes to benefit from their name, image, and likeness. Since then, student athletes have been earning up to seven figures from NIL deals. While there is money for the players to make for themselves, one Oregon State football player took this opportunity to help others.
Beavers defensive back Alex Austin partnered with Access Scholarships and the Hirect App to create the Alex Austin Overcoming Adversity Scholarship. Austin noted how his agent Shawn O’Gorman assisted in bringing the scholarship to fruition.
“He helped me out with conducting the whole scholarship with the connections,” Austin said. “Fortunately, Access and Hirect were both co-sponsors who put money in for the scholarship.”
There will be three winners of the scholarship, one first place winner who will receive $1,000 and two second place winners who will get $500 each. Austin knows that some people choose to not attend college for financial purposes alone.
According to the National Center for Education Statistics, the average cost of tuition for a full-time undergraduate student during the 2019-2020 school year was $9,400 for public institutions and $19,100 for private for-profit universities. That, coupled with the cost of food, rent, and transportation can be a financial burden on students. Austin realized that he was able to help.
“Even if I could just help to pay for somebody’s books for the year, just being able to do a good deed is all I really wanted to do,” Austin said.
On the first day he announced his scholarship, he received over 45 applicants.
“I know now, it’s probably in the hundreds, maybe even a thousand,” Austin said about applicants. “I can’t even tell you the exact number right now.”
Access Scholarships will assist him in reviewing applications. Special consideration will be given to first-generation college students and minorities (including racial, sexual orientation, and disabilities). All applicants must write an essay about a hardship they experienced and how they overcame it.
Austin desires to encourage others to stay mentally strong while they are fighting through their challenges and he wants them to know they can put their mind to whatever they aspire to achieve.
“That’s really the whole motto of the scholarship,” he said. “There’s somebody that’s struggling and there’s always somebody who’s struggling worse than them. But if I can help them, pick them up, maybe they’ll pick the next person up.”
A native of Long Beach, Austin learned the importance of giving back from his parents. He had participated in backpack giveaways at the beginning of the school year and turkey giveaways during Thanksgiving time.
“I was raised as a community activist at a young age, my parents being really involved in politics in the community,” Austin said.
Austin attended Los Cerritos elementary school and Hughes middle school before enrolling in Long Beach Poly high school. His years in the Long Beach Unified School District exposed Austin to a diverse set of students with various backgrounds. He learned not to pass judgment on others because he may not know what they could be going through. He had childhood friends whose families struggled to make ends meet.
“Being able to come through a public-school school district, just to see the daily lives of the average Joe,” he said. “I’ve seen people with smiles on their face every day who been through the hardest time.”
The deadline for the Overcoming Adversity scholarship is September 1. For more information, please visit https://accessscholarships.com/overcoming-adversity-scholarship#pp-toc-nb6wr19gjzel-anchor-3.