Archive for Thursday, February 3, 2011

KU initiative to make more scholarship funds available to freshmen touted as recruiting tool

February 3, 2011


As Kansas University continues its capital campaign, one major focus will be raising money to create more four-year renewable scholarships for freshmen.

And officials are touting the move as a recruiting tool.

The initiative was unveiled publicly during Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little’s state of the university speech last week, and efforts are already under way at KU to make it so more students are offered these kinds of scholarships by next fall.

That’s important, she said last week, because students contemplating enrollment at KU sometimes see KU as offering fewer scholarship dollars than its competitors. In reality, she said, the university often offers more money than other schools, but it’s backloaded in scholarships targeted at juniors and seniors. That, the chancellor said, isn’t as helpful in recruitment.

To make the changes, university leaders had to build consensus among KU’s deans, who control much of the scholarship funds for their individual schools. Gray-Little said that effort has been ongoing and continues today.

The goal, said Danny Anderson, dean of KU’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, is to identify existing funds and raise new money through the capital campaign to make scholarships for juniors and seniors available to freshmen and sophomores for four years.

As Anderson connects with donors, he said he’s found support for the idea. Many of KU’s most successful alumni received scholarships, he said.

“They know what a transformational difference that can make,” Anderson said.

The change will be largely felt in the college, where Anderson said virtually every department has a financial award of some kind it gives to juniors and seniors.

“Every department in the college wants to have the best students,” Anderson said, and if they can strategically use their money in a way to attract those students as freshmen, all the better, he said.

The change could mean more students get admitted to KU’s professional schools — such as journalism and education — as freshmen, said Rick Ginsberg, dean of the School of Education.

Currently, those who want to be teachers are admitted to the education school as juniors, and those enrolling in the school’s health, sport and exercise sciences program are admitted as sophomores.

The school will be rolling out a pilot program this fall, Ginsberg said, to admit four students who want to become teachers and four HSES students as freshmen.

The course work for the programs wouldn’t change, but early admission would give students access to the school’s scholarship funds as they enter KU.

“If it means attracting the best and brightest students that Kansas has to offer, we think it could be a darned good idea,” Ginsberg said.

That’s long been the model in KU’s School of Engineering, where students now are admitted as freshmen, said Dean Stuart Bell.

“It’s really competitive to get the best students,” he said, adding he had just finished signing a stack of offer letters to send to freshmen outlining the compensation packages they’ll be receiving over four years at KU.

While some freshmen earning scholarships could leave before they finish their degrees at KU, Bell said the money wouldn’t be wasted.

“It still gives you a great pool of students who are going to graduate from KU,” he said.


bd 7 years, 1 month ago

How about we offer these scholarships to Kansas kids since our tax $'s are paying for it???

akhmatova 7 years, 1 month ago

They already get a benefit for the state tax money -- it's in-state tuition.

bd 7 years, 1 month ago

Along with the newer restricted admissions and offerering these new scholarships to out of state students, our local kids don't have a chance! My tax dollars should be used to help Kansas kids first!


akhmatova 7 years, 1 month ago

You can't be serious when talking about the admission standards. They are still unbelievably lax , and anyone who doesn't exceed them plus more does not belong in a university. Plus, anyone who is at the cusp of the admission standards will likely drag down the first-year retention rates. A 21 on the ACT in-state? 2.5 GPA? Seriously? KU should not be Pitt State.

And again, your tax dollars are funding the in-state tuition of every Kansas kid. That's about $12,000 of savings per year compared to out-of-state tuition.

Whether Kansas should be recruiting high-performance kids from in-state rather than out-of-state is a good question worth asking that I'm sure KU has mulled over. Is it better to throw everything you can to get high-ACT scoring kids who are likely already sold or not sold on Kansas, but may be thinking of leaving a state that is already underpopulated? Or bring in kids from out-of-state who pay more tuition money, boost rankings more, and could possibly stay in Kansas past graduate?

bd 7 years, 1 month ago

yep, all Kansas children should have the same opportunities when it come to higher education, not just the rich.

oldbaldguy 7 years, 1 month ago

one of my kids did not go to KU because all they offered was onetime $1K scholarship back in 1997 to freshman who qualified. My child went on to a private school that offered a very generous renewable merit scholarship. If they are serious about attracting instate quality students, this is a good idea.

rubberband 7 years, 1 month ago

Agreed. KU School of Engineering's scholarship offer to my child this year was pathetically puny in comparison to offers from every other school applied to, even when taking out-of-state tuition into account. Certainly makes it hard to justify choosing KU.

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