Archive for Tuesday, January 13, 2004

KU sees big drop in National Merit scholars

January 13, 2004


Emily Moisan is a rarity at Kansas University this year -- she's a National Merit scholar from outside Kansas.

Moisan, from St. Charles, Mo., is one of four of the highly sought-after freshman scholars to attend KU from out of state, down from 45 last year. Overall, the number of KU's National Merit scholars -- including those from Kansas -- are down to 49 this year from 99 last year.

The decline is a result of a KU decision last year to focus scholarship money on students from Kansas, instead of offering full rides to all National Merit scholars choosing KU.

"We were planning to see a decrease in the number of out-of-state National Merits," said Lisa Pinamonti, director of admissions and scholarships. "We were planning on not very many choosing KU ... that wasn't a surprise."

National Merit scholars are selected based on test scores, academic record and extracurricular activities. University rankings such as those done by U.S. News & World Report take the number of scholars into account when scoring colleges.

Chancellor Robert Hemenway made attracting more National Merit scholars a goal when he came in 1995, giving them scholarships to cover 15 hours of credit per semester and board in a scholarship hall.

KU cracked the top 10 for public universities enrolling the scholars from fall 2000 to fall 2002, with KU's enrollment of the scholars topping out at 116 in 2000.

But the scholarship package -- valued at $6,000 per year for in-state students and $14,000 for out-of-state students -- proved too costly, and KU officials announced last year they would stop offering full rides to nonresident students and instead focus on attracting top Kansas students.

Now, National Merit scholars from Kansas still receive full-ride scholarship packages. But those from other states are offered scholarships that total around $10,000 per year, about $4,000 less than in previous years.

That scholarship money was still enough to convince Moisan to attend KU. She chose KU over Tulane University because Tulane's higher tuition rates would have left her with $100,000 in debt after four years.

Also, KU offers students from Missouri who are studying architecture in-state tuition rates. In exchange, Kansas students can attend dental school at the University of Missouri-Kansas City for Missouri rates.

"Kansas is essentially a free ride for me," Moisan said. "My parents would've given $4,000 or $5,000 a year for my education. I just didn't want to go $100,000 in debt."

Pinamonti said KU had no plans to change the way it handled National Merit scholarships for next year.

"We're following the same procedure for fall 2004 as we did for fall 2003," she said. "We anticipate similar numbers."

Kansas University has 49 freshman National Merit scholars enrolled this year:KansasAdmire -- Audra Rochelle JenkinsDerby -- Mindy Min LiuEmporia -- Abigail Marion EastFairway -- Whitney Katherine OnaschHutchinson -- Eric M. SaylorLawrence -- Adam Mathias Bittlingmayer, Sean Jaroslav Hill, Anne Isabel McEnroe and Lucas Todd ThompsonLeawood -- Amanda Gail Ellwood, Daniel Patrick Hogan, Nicholas Andrew Mabry, Oluwafemi Ayodipup Morohunfola, Ryan James SlackManhattan -- Matthew H. TaylorMcPherson -- Jill E. Koehler, Alicia Rosemarie SchoenOlathe -- Courtney Ann Hansen, John Andrew Mitts, Paul Christopher ShipleyOverland Park -- Christopher Steven Campbell, Kelly Camille Chapman, MacKenzie Taylor Hanson, Justin Scott Klinger, Kirstin Nicole Miller, Stephen Kendall Mock, Lindsey Allison Rood, Lauran Alisabeth Smith, Weifan YuRoeland Park -- Ian Christopher KietzmanRose Hill -- Kyle David ForakerScammon -- Abbie Nicole GilmoreShawnee -- Victoria Pamela Merrill, Drew Donald NedvedWashington -- Laura Ann DagueWichita -- Anna Beth Breitenbach, Andrew Scott Campbell, Alex Michael Chavez, Brian Matthew Friend, Lindsay Nicole Ignatowski, Kristin Ann Kennalley, Jay Marshall Kimmel, Margaret Ann Kobawoo, Eric Joseph Schmidt, Timothy Eric SchunkNonresidentManchester, Mo. -- Sarah Lynn BueltmannSt. Charles, Mo. -- Emily Grace MoisanOmaha, Neb. -- Paul Andrew KarrerNorman, Okla. -- James Lee Jewell

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