For some Wichita students, college is free

Several high schools seniors who graduated this month won't have to worry about tuition increases as they prepare for college.

Their academic achievements have landed them full-ride — or full-tuition — scholarships.

Here are three of their stories:

Tyler Minnis

Minnis, a graduate of North High School, received a full ride to Wichita State University this week when she was awarded with the Linwood Sexton Endowed Scholarship.

The scholarship is geared toward minority students who demonstrate financial need and have a minimum cumulative 3.0 GPA and a minimum 21 ACT composite score, according to WSU. The scholarship was named in honor of Linwood Sexton, a former Wichita State football star.

Minnis, who played volleyball all four years at North and served as president of the National Honor Society, said she focused her application essay on providing leadership to WSU.

"I did a lot at high school, and I plan to do the same at WSU," she said.

Josh Barrett

Barrett, a Wichita Collegiate School graduate, received a full ride to the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill as part of the Morehead-Cain Scholars program. The scholarship is valued at $170,000.

Collegiate is one of two schools in Wichita invited to nominate students for this merit-based scholarship, and Barrett is one of 24 Morehead-Cain scholars from outside North Carolina.

Scholars are evaluated on four criteria: moral force of character, scholarship, physical vigor and leadership.

Barrett helped start Collegiate's swim team and revived the school newspaper, according to Collegiate. He is an Eagle Scout, and he was named to the Scouts Order of the Arrow.

Nicholas Schmeidler

Schmeidler, a Bishop Carroll High School graduate, plans to attend the University of Notre Dame on a full tuition scholarship package valued at $39,000 a year.

He said he grew up watching Notre Dame football games and has aspired to go to college there for years.

Schmeidler applied to other schools, earning scholarships from Cornell University and WSU. But, in the end, Notre Dame was "a really good fit," he said. He said he likes that Notre Dame offers a liberal arts curriculum for freshmen.

The awards package is a mix of merit- and need-based grants, including the $4,100 Notre Dame Provost Scholarship.

Schmeidler, former National Honor Society president who was active in yearbook and broadcasting in high school, said he's undecided on his major.