Archive for Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Kansas University changing scholarship offerings for incoming freshman

August 3, 2011


Kansas University will dramatically change the way it offers scholarships to incoming freshmen, putting more of a focus on four-year renewable scholarships and letting students know upfront what level of aid they can expect based on their high school GPA and standardized test scores.

The new scholarships, KU leaders say, are designed to attract new students to KU.

“It’s a good program. It’s where we want to go,” said KU Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little. “We want to use our funding to pool more of it so that it not only helps the students, but also helps us in terms of who we want to recruit.”

The effort matches her goals to not just recruit high-quality students, but to retain them, too, because the scholarships are available for four years only, she said.

“Graduating in four years becomes more important,” she said.

To put more scholarship money in renewable scholarships available for freshmen, KU realigned some of its existing funds to front-load more scholarship money.

Lisa Pinamonti Kress, KU’s director of admissions, said a number of elements will help her recruit students. Recruits are frequently asking her how much scholarship money is available and how much of it is renewable.

“With the state of the economy, we’ve definitely heard that students and parents would like to know what it costs for the entire four years,” she said.

The new scholarships, paired with KU’s four-year guaranteed tuition compact, allow them to do that, she said.

Now, if students know their high school GPA and their standardized test scores, they’ll know how much money they’ll get, and they’ll get a letter within two weeks of being admitted, she said.

The deadline to be considered for scholarships has been moved up slightly, to Nov. 1 from Dec. 1, she said. And gone are those scholarship essays that students had to write in the past, Kress said, along with a resume-like form that listed all the extracurricular activities a student had participated in.

Before the change, KU had four-year renewable scholarships, but they were mostly reserved for the highest-achieving students, she said. Today, most of KU’s scholarships are one-time awards with an average of about $1,000 or $1,500, she said. Funds that supported those scholarships will be redirected to the new renewable scholarships, she said.

Those “signing bonuses” didn’t align with KU’s desire to link recruitment with retention of students, said Matt Melvin, KU’s associate vice provost for recruitment and enrollment.

To secure other funding for the new program, Melvin said KU made a number of other changes to its existing scholarships. A scholarship for perfect ACT scores was eliminated. The criteria to renew the scholarships were strengthened, with the KU GPA requirement moving from 3.25 to 3.4. And KU worked with schools and departments to use funds that had been reserved for awards for upperclassmen.

Some of the out-of-state awards will be financed using tuition waivers.

He said KU would also be offering assistance to low-income families that qualify for federal Pell Grants. If Kansas students meet minimum academic standards, KU would use a combination of grants and scholarships to provide payment for full tuition and fees for four years for those students, he said. They would also have to meet academic standards each year to keep the scholarship.

“It’s going to ensure not only that the best and brightest are going to come to KU; it’s going to ensure that that best and brightest are going to come to KU regardless of their ability to pay,” Melvin said.

KU officials plan to launch an affordability website for prospective students soon.

Dale Seuferling, president and CEO of the KU Endowment Association, said mostly existing funds were being used to support the new scholarships. For example, two of KU’s existing renewable scholarships, the Summerfield and Watkins-Berger scholarships, would no longer exist moving forward.

But the funds that support them would still be used to provide money for the highest-level renewable award given to Kansas residents, he said. And students will still receive a letter that informs them which donor was responsible for their scholarship.

And as KU continues with its comprehensive fundraising campaign, now in the silent stage, acquiring new funds for scholarships will remain a priority, he said. The new scholarships will allow them to show donors the emphasis KU is placing on renewable scholarships.

“It really provides, I think, a much more efficient and marketable program that will be better understood by parents and the students,” he said.

New scholarships for incoming freshman

Kansas University is offering several new renewable scholarships for freshmen entering in the fall of 2012. The freshmen will be able to look at a grid and tell what level of scholarship they qualify for.

Kansas Resident Renewable Scholarships

National Merit Finalist, National Achievement Finalist, National Hispanic Scholar Must select KU as No. 1 college choice with National Merit Scholarship Corp.; $40,000 ($10,000 per year); 30 KU hours + 3.4 GPA

Chancellor 32 ACT/1400 SAT, 3.85 GPA; $20,000 ($5,000 per year); 30 KU hours + 3.4 GPA

Traditions 31 ACT/1360 SAT, 3.75 GPA; $16,000 ($4,000 per year); 30 KU hours + 3.4 GPA

Crimson & Blue 28 ACT/1250 SAT, 3.5 GPA; $8,000 ($2,000 per year); 30 KU hours + 3.4 GPA

Rock Chalk 25 ACT/1130 SAT, 3.5 GPA; $4,000 ($1,000 per year); 30 KU hours + 3.4 GPA

Jayhawk 24 ACT/1090 SAT, 3.75 GPA; $4,000 ($1,000 per year); 30 KU hours + 3.4 GPA

KU Pell Advantage (for students who qualify to receive a Pell Grant) 22 ACT/1020 SAT, 3.25 GPA; Combination of scholarships and grants will fund all tuition and fees; 24 KU hours + 2.5 GPA

Nonresident Renewable Scholarships

National Merit Finalist, National Achievement Finalist, National Hispanic Scholar Must select KU as No. 1 college choice with National Merit Scholarship Corp.; $40,000 ($10,000 per year); 30 KU hours + 3.4 GPA

Midwest Student Exchange Program* 24 ACT/1090 SAT, 3.25 GPA; $37,200 ($9,300 per year); 30 KU hours + 3.4 GPA

KU Excellence 28 ACT/1250 SAT, 3.5 GPA; $37,200 ($9,300 per year); 30 KU hours + 3.4 GPA

KU Distinction 25 ACT/1130 SAT, 3.5 GPA; $12,000 ($3,000 per year); 30 KU hours + 3.4 GPA

KU Achievement 24 ACT/1090 SAT, 3.75 GPA; $8,000 ($2,000 per year); 30 KU hours + 3.4 GPA

*Available for students living in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota or Wisconsin.

Jayhawk Generations Scholarships

Available for non-resident students who have a parent, step-parent, grandparent, step-grandparent or legal guardian who graduated from KU.

28 ACT/1250 SAT, 3.5 GPA; $37,200 ($9,300 per year); 30 KU hours + 3.4 GPA

26-27 ACT/1170-1240 SAT, 3.5 GPA; $17,200 ($4,300 per year); 30 KU hours + 3.4 GPA

24-25 ACT/1090-1160 SAT, 3.5 GPA; $10,320 ($2,580 per year); 30 KU hours + 3.4 GPA


ralphralph 6 years, 4 months ago

$ 1,000 per year = kind of meaningless. KU may as well pack the money into fewer, larger grants to top achievers, as the smaller scholarships really have been outpaced by increased costs to the point that they make little or no difference.

KU_cynic 6 years, 4 months ago

The big change is that KU will be offering a lot more scholarships -- some of them meaningful -- to incoming students rather than offering lots of scholarships to college juniors and seniors based on merit. The idea is to attract a better quality incoming class -- with higher likelihood of retention and graduation -- rather than spending scholarship money on junior and senior students likely to stay and graduate from KU regardless of whether they receive such scholarships or not. Overall, I think it is a good idea.

akhmatova 6 years, 4 months ago

Dead on. KU does offer a lot of scholarship through departments and professional schools, but the 4-year retention rate is absolutely in the gutter for KU right now and this is a big effort to boost it.

make_a_difference 6 years, 4 months ago

I think this is great for incoming KU freshmen. We personally went through the experience of dealing with available freshman scholarships not being renewable. And it was extremely frustrating. Especially since she has chosen majors not in engineering or business and money isn't available in her areas of study. Every semester brings that stress of figuring how to cover expenses. So I am happy to know that this will change for new qualifying freshmen.

But having a child, who as a freshman two years ago, would have qualified to have full tuition & fees covered by this new scholarship can I describe my feelilng......

kufan1146 6 years, 4 months ago

As a student who has put himself 100% through college, and in fact gotten paid for it, there is ALWAYS money available. You just have to look for it. My student debt is less than $9,000 going into my senior year, with this year 175% paid for ($6k in my pocket to be used as rent/bills money).

IMO, be happy for those in the future, and tell your kid to work harder and apply for more scholarships.

jayhawklawrence 6 years, 4 months ago

I think the scholarships for National Merit Finalists is not competitive with other schools.

I also think the gpa requirement is too high as a condition to retain the scholarships because it will discourage students from taking challenging classes and more hours. Even if a student is very capable of achieving an A in a class, they will worry about the possibility of losing a scholarship.

Especially for the top students, why put that additional stress on them. These kind of students already put too much stress on themselves.

KU in many ways is a wonderful school, but I am not impressed with their financial aid programs.

rockchalk77 6 years, 4 months ago

It was a while back, but my National Merit scholarship to KU required I keep a 3.5 GPA, while my engineering scholarship only required a 3.2. Both were for 4 years (contingent upon maintaining GPA), so it would seem that they are moving most everything to those models.

yourworstnightmare 6 years, 4 months ago

This is a good move, using scholarships to attract and retain the best students rather than going to juniors and seniors.

Welcome to the 20th century, KU. (Yes, I meant to type 20th century, as most universities have done this for some time)

Commenting has been disabled for this item.