Craig Day, News On 6
OLIVE, Oklahoma -- Dozens of Oklahoma students will get a free ride through college thanks to the world's wealthiest man.
That includes one student from the tiny Olive School District near Drumright, who is getting hundreds of thousands of dollars of help.
"Yeah I was pretty excited about it," Tyler Hallmark said.
Hallmark won a Gates Millennium Scholarship, which is awarded to 1,000 outstanding minority students nationwide each year.
"It's really rigorous. They have, like, eight essays you have to fill out," he said.
For Hallmark, the scholarship opens up opportunities. It covers everything.
"My dorm, my meal plan, my tuition, my books, my fees, you name it. They even give me $2,100, what I'm told by Colorado, they give me $2,100 a year to travel there and $1,300 a year for personal expenses."
Hallmark plans to go to the University of Colorado, majoring in communications. With the cost of out-of-state tuition, that wouldn't have been possible.
"That wasn't an option before this came along," he said.
The scholarship also covers costs beyond a Bachelors degree. Hallmark hopes to go on to get a Masters Degree and then a doctorate from Stanford.
All told, that means the scholarship could end up being worth $400,000.
"Going out of state is pretty big for someone coming out of Olive, especially when you have a full ride to one of the big universities," Hallmark said.
Hallmark is one of 45 students from Oklahoma receiving the scholarship. He's grateful he is one of them and that he's getting such an incredible opportunity.
The Gates Millennium Scholars program is open for minorities to apply. Applicants must have at least a 3.3 grade point average and have to meet the federal Pell Grant eligibility criteria.