University offers B!G cash to summer graduates

It’s not very often students get to see “free money” from the University. Most scholarships carry minimum GPA requirements or essays or even competitions.

But not the B!G Summer Advantage Incentive, which this year carries a $300 check for any senior who enrolled at the University in 2003 and will graduate this August as a result of taking summer courses.

“The program started in summer 2001 to promote students’ academic progress to graduate within four years of matriculation,” said Ann Krebs, director of marketing and promotions at the Office of Continuing and Extended Education.

Another hope administrators have of the program is that it will help to increase summer enrollment. While the incentive is automated, meaning there’s no application necessary, it is dependent on the year’s funding and may not always be available because of budget constraints.

Even though the check totals less than the cost of one summer credit hour, which comes in at $427, students are saying the program is still worth it.

“Three hundred dollars is good rent money. I don’t know if it’s incentive enough to get out in four years, but people who want to be done in four years don’t need an incentive,” said Vish Sakthivel, a senior philosophy and pre-law major who qualified for this summer’s incentive.

But with the cost of books, rent and food and summer gas prices hovering uncomfortably close to $4 a gallon, students may find the money useful in more ways than one.

“It’s a great idea anytime you can get more money to a student. I don’t think anyone can fault that,” said Diana Carpenter, adviser in the College of Arts and Sciences.

Because the incentive is given automatically to qualifying students, Carpenter said advisers give out the information when asked but don’t make a point of telling every student about it.

“I didn’t find out until after I registered for summer classes, so it didn’t impact my decision to take summer courses,” Sakthivel said.

But, she added, “It came as a pleasant surprise.”

Because of the automation and the requirement that these students do, in fact, graduate in August, they won’t see the money until some time in September.

So while the money may not be of much help with rising education costs, it might still come as a “pleasant surprise” for many.