Working to maintain scholarships will pay off in the long run

India Hunter and India Hunter

Each year students apply to the University and many are awarded scholarships. Maintaining these scholarships requires work and there are resources to help students do so.

The Office of Undergraduate Admissions offers various awards each year, said the Director Gary Swegan.

“We try to offer as many awards as we can to incoming students,” said Swegan.

Some of the freshmen renewable scholarships include the Achievement Award for $5,000, the Exploration award for $3,000, the Inspiration Award for $2,500 , the Orange Award for $2,000 and the Brown Award for $1,000.

For freshmen renewable scholarships, Swegan said there is approximately 5.8 million dollars in aid to be awarded, but the amount changes from year to year.

Renewable scholarships range from $1,000 to full fees, Swegan said. With each year, the incoming class size differs, which affects the amount of money available to award students.

Many of the scholarships awarded to incoming students are based on their Grade Point Average, ACT scores and financial needs as determined on the Federal Application for Financial Aid.

In past years the requirements to maintain the freshmen renewable scholarships differed, but now all of the requirements are the same, which includes maintaining a minimum 2.75 GPA.

Graduate student Neema Wera, who has a scholarship through the University, doesn’t think keeping a 2.7 GPA is much of a problem for her.

“I keep my grades up not only to ensure I maintain my scholarship, but I really want to earn my Ph.D. in international relations which requires good grades,” Wera said.

There are resources available for students to help them maintain their scholarships, said Joy Hartwell-Lein, a financial aid specialist in the Center for Multicultural and Academic Initiatives.

Hartwell-Lein works with students awarded the University Tuition Scholarship for Underrepresented Students. This is a scholarship open to incoming students that demonstrate financial need and have a 3.0 cumulative GPA, or a 20 ACT score or higher. The scholarship is open to everyone, but specifically targets African-American, Latino students and other underrepresented groups, Hartwell-Lein said.

“Our goal is retention for students. We want to see them graduate from college, pursue their career of choice or attend graduate school if they want to,” Hartwell-Lein said. “Everything we do is for retention.”

CMAI provides diversity programming for students and diversity education to help students better understand and appreciate the many diverse cultures Hartwell-Lein said.

Other means of support the Center provides is through the Freshmen Development Program coupled with one on one advising sessions with students.

If a student does fall below the 2.75 GPA required to maintain the scholarship, there are steps they can take Hartwell-Lein said.

One option is to fill out an appeals form which is then reviewed by a committee of three from the CMAI.

“If a student becomes ill, loses a loved one or has some valid reason most often times the appeal is upheld,” said Hartwell-Lein.

Students can also work with the success coaches in the CMAI to help increase their GPA, Hartwell-Lein said. The success coaches are there as a resource not only to help students academically, but are there to assist students with any issue concerning them, she said

But there are measures students can take to avoid having academic troubles to begin with, Hartwell-Lein said.

“My advice to students is to make sure to work with your advisers, meet with your professors and go to their office hours, use the many tutoring services on campus and study,” Hartwell-Lein said.