Future students to receive better scholarships

With enrollment down the fifth year in a row, campus administrators say they are looking for new ways to attract students.

The 1.3 percent decline in enrollment results from a decrease from 6,931 students during fall 2013 to 6,841 this fall.

Beginning in fall 2015, there will be new scholarships up for grabs for incoming freshmen who otherwise would have been ineligible or would have received smaller scholarships.

“We changed some of the scholarship structures a little bit,” said Vice President for Student Affairs David Shields. “There was a point in our scholarships where we only awarded scholarships to the highest-end students.”

Vanguard scholarships are meant to reach students that received an average ACT score but excelled in their core classes, said Kimberly Maudlin, director of admissions.

“We were trying to attract those students who were between the academic and leadership scholarship eligibility,” said Ben Baker, director of Student Financial Services.

Sophomore Michalia Lewis reflected on one of the benefits of the new scholarship offerings.

“Offering this scholarship will decrease the amount of loans students would need to take out,” Lewis said.

The deadline for applying for these scholarships will be Dec. 15, so students will be able to submit October ACT scores for consideration, Maudlin said.

Freshman Anthony Rolle said the December deadline would be beneficial to students.

“This gives students a reason to do better on the ACT,” he said. “If you work hard in your main classes, you will definitely get money for school.”

Shields said the scholarships will also provide more money to students with higher test scores and higher high school GPAs.

“What we found was students at the higher end don’t always do as well academically, or they don’t do as well or don’t finish (college),” he said. “It’s those students in the middle who generally become your campus leaders.”

Senior Justin Shepherd said he thinks too much emphasis is placed on a student’s GPA when determining how much scholarship money he or she will receive.

“I know a lot of people that study and apply themselves and still don’t make the grade,” he said.

Vanguard scholarships will fall under the Excellence Scholarship umbrella, Maudlin said, so students will not be able to stack them with other Excellence Scholarships.