Utah Jazz scholarship winners ‘ready to make an impact on many lives’

Students awarded free tuition for one year at WGU

Western Governors University (WGU) and the Utah Jazz teamed up to award four Utah students with a full year of tuition. Awarded during halftime at the Jazz – Memphis Grizzlies game on April 5th, these scholarships will allow the students to attend WGU, an online, non-profit university, tuition-free for one year.

The recipients of the scholarship are Bridget Bauer, David Glover, Tiffanee Zenes and Jennifer Buzes. All four of these students submitted an official entry form. Degree programs for the recipients include nursing, IT, special education and business.

Tiffanee Zenes, who plans to pursue her bachelor’s degree in special education, mild to moderate, called the scholarship life changing.

“I am incredibly honored that I have been awarded this scholarship. It is an experience and moment that I’ll never forget,” Zenes said.  “I am ready to make an impact on so many lives and continue doing what I love after working with special education students for nearly six years now.”

Fellow scholarship winner David Glover is following in the footsteps of his wife, who completed her MBA program in just six months.

“My wife and I both love WGU because we are in control of the pace of the classes and the degree as a whole. As parents of two kids, this is very important to us. We can go as fast and as slow as we need with each class,” he said. “I am personally thankful that I don’t have to go to a campus to do school after a full day of work, and I still have time for my wife and kids.

”This scholarship from the Jazz and WGU will have an immense impact since I’m going to school now for free. Not having to worry about paying for school is a big deal in our single income household.”

Ismar Vallecillos, director of WGU’s northwest regional operations, said he is thrilled to partner with the Jazz to make education accessible to everyone. 

“WGU wants to empower individuals with the most cutting-edge skills they need to be marketable in today’s workforce,” he said. “We are very grateful for this partnership to support students pursuing their online degrees.”

In its ninth straight year of awarding these scholarships with the Jazz, 33 adult learners have been awarded this WGU scholarship to help them pursue online education opportunities and achieve their goals. Past recipients say receiving this award has proven to be a life-changing event.

Michele Edem, a previous winner said, “Winning the Utah Jazz WGU scholarship allowed me to earn my administrative license without accruing debt. After the 20-21 school year, my district offered a summer boost program. I was hired as an administrative intern and felt well prepared to tap into the skills I learned at WGU. I was able to have that opportunity thanks to the Utah Jazz and WGU.”

Fellow recipient Taylor Jones said getting the award completely changed his life. “I was working full-time and had another part-time job on the side. I was looking at getting a graveyard shift job to pay for school, but then I got this scholarship. I was able to focus more on my academics. It also was an added benefit to watch my favorite NBA team while getting an award.” 

The majority of WGU students are working adults who benefit from the flexibility and relevance of the competency-based programs that the university offers. As a nonprofit institution, WGU is committed to keeping tuition costs low. Most WGU degree programs are approximately $7,000 per year – about half as much as comparable universities. Its online, competency-based model allows students to study and learn whenever and wherever it is convenient and at a pace that fits their lifestyles. The university is well-suited for busy, working adults, as well as traditionally underserved student populations.