As if getting into college wasn't difficult enough, paying for it can be the next daunting task students will often face.

On Tuesday, 20 high school finalists of the Daniels Fund scholarship were surprised to find out in a 9NEWS segment that paying for college won't be something they have to worry about. They were awarded a large scholarship to the college of their choice.

"This is amazing because I had no idea this would happen," said a student named Rashib. "Being with all these amazing people and having this experience, this is awesome."

The 20 students joined 206 others who will soon find out they will also be awarded. The grant pays toward tuition and fees, room and board, as well as books and other education-related expenses.

The Daniels fund was established by philanthropist Bill Daniels, whose $1 billion estate was transferred to the fund following his death in 2000.

The students go through a lengthy application process and this year's class of 226 students were chosen from more than 2,200 applicants.

"It's just a big moment for my family and I. It really means a lot," said a student named Samantha, as tears of joy ran down her face. "This is huge for me and I really appreciate everything Daniels Fund does for us."

More than 3,200 scholarships have been awarded by the Daniels Fund to students in Colorado, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming since 2000.