While their peers and their families look at student loans and spending down their savings, a select few of this year’s high school graduates know their college costs are covered.

Local school officials estimate about 15 out of more than 1,700 graduates in Johnson County this year received full-ride scholarships, either through academics or sports. Those scholarships cover tuition, textbooks and housing for four years of college — meaning they don’t have to worry about debt after graduation.

The students have spent years perfecting their sport for a scholarship to play for a college team, keeping up their grades so they could compete with thousands of other graduates or lining up recommendation letters, filling out applications and writing essays.

For some, the scholarship is the difference between attending their dream school or settling for something else because of the cost.

Five Johnson County students shared their journey on how they received these scholarships and what it means for them.