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Mar 23, 2017 09:14 AM EDT

JSerra Senior Offered More Than $1 Million In Scholarships - Without A Perfect SAT or GPA

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A senior student from JSerra Catholic High School got a total of $1 million in scholarship grants from 15 educational institutions.
(Photo : Oli Scarff/Getty Images)

JSerra Catholic High School senior student Joshua "Josh" Barri, 17, has been offered over $1 million in scholarships to 15 colleges, beating what seem to be, insurmountable odds; and it was all unintentional.

Josh is the eldest of three siblings and has learning challenges. Because of this, plans to pursue a college education in a small private university seemed like a logical choice. Josh's game plan was to look for a fallback school that his family could afford, just in case his scholarship applications to the top schools of his choice was unsuccessful.

However, when he started opening up letters containing college scholarship grants, he and his mom, Kristin Skibo, were shocked - and thrilled. He shares that his top schools all came back with extraordinary amounts of money that simply piled up. One followed another until 15 grants came in with a combined total of over $1 million.

The highest offer reportedly comes from one of Josh's top choice, Seton Hall University with $106,500. With a preference for remaining in a Catholic education environment, his other three choices who also offered grants are DePaul, $80,000; University of Portland, $92,000; Catholic University of America, $100,000.

Though a good student and takes honors classes, Josh has not taken any advanced placement (AP) classes and he only has a GPA of 3.8. He scored 1990 out of 2400 on the old SAT, and he is no athlete either. He is open about his challenges including ADHD and dysgraphia, a condition that makes it difficult for him to write legibly.

According to Josh, it was probably his essay writing and his test scores that got him his grants. In addition, writing to the schools who probably saw his character and who he was through his writing, must have made them determine he was the kind of student they want in their campuses. Josh also said he wrote from his heart.

JSerra's Director of college counseling Olivia Huie was likewise ecstatic as that of Josh's mom of his success. She cites it was extraordinary. Accordingly, the happiness is not all about Josh. The trio states other teens can replicate what Josh has accomplished, The Orange County Register reported.

Coming from a middle-class background, the family makes enough, which makes them ineligible for any financial aid. However, what they do make is not enough to support an additional $75,000 (pre-tax) expense a year.

Data covering 2016-17 from The College Board says a four-year undergraduate course charges in a private college, is currently pegged at $33,480 for tuition and fees alone. Adding $11,890 for room and board would rack up $45,370 per year, excluding books, meals, and other miscellaneous expenses.

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