'GMA' surprises 25 incredible students with a gift of a lifetime

"GMA" teamed up with the College Board to give away $1 million in scholarships.

ByAmy Hayden, Cameron Harrison, and Yi-Jin Yu via via logo
March 24, 2022, 9:41 AM

One program is on a mission to make college accessible for students.

The College Board's BigFuture program offers tools that aim to help students find the right colleges for them, identify possible majors and career interests and search for scholarships -- all while giving them a chance to win a college scholarship.

"The College Board created and invested in BigFuture. It's a free online resource for all students to understand their best step post high school. So we have tools to understand how to plan for college, pay for college, explore careers, and if juniors take steps on our site, the steps we know they need to take, they'll get entered into our scholarship program," BigFuture's senior vice president Tarlin Ray told "Good Morning America."

Pei Lin Lu, a high school senior from New York, is one of the many students that has used BigFuture during the college planning process and is now heading to New York University in the fall, where he plans on majoring in early childhood education.

"I can't wait to go to college! I'm super excited!" Lu told "GMA."

It's no secret that college can be expensive. The average cost of tuition at a four-year college ranges from $14,900 to $53,900, according to data from the U.S. Department of Education's National Center for Education Statistics. Undergraduate students took out an average of $29,100 to $44,600 in loans for the 2015-2016 academic year, according to a department analysis.

Many students like Lu need some financial support so "GMA" teamed up with BigFuture to surprise 25 deserving seniors with $1 million in scholarships.

Lu, along with fellow students Kimberly Teyengua, Vinny Fiorino, Kelsie Meader, Jalliyia Phillippy, Tabitha Hicks, Abigail Castelino and 18 others, will each receive a $40,000 scholarship to put toward their college education.

PHOTO: Pei Lin Lu and 24 other high school students were each surprised with $40,000 scholarships to put toward their college education on "Good Morning America."
Pei Lin Lu and 24 other high school students were each surprised with $40,000 scholarships to put toward their college education on "Good Morning America."
ABC News

"Oh my god! This can mean so much to me. NYU is a very prestigious school. It is not cheap. Tuition is $80,000 so this will really help. Thank you so much College Board!" a surprised Lu said when he was given the big news Thursday.

For high schoolers looking for financial aid, Ray encourages them to check out BigFuture.

"Calling all juniors -- Class of 2023, go to BigFuture.org right now. We're giving away two $40,000 scholarships every month. And hundreds of $500 scholarships. Go take steps!" Ray said.

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