Tuesday, April 18, 2006


Is It Just Me?

How does your college handle scholarships?

For reasons I still don’t understand, my cc awards scholarships almost entirely as students graduate. For all intents and purposes, they’re contributions towards tuition at other places.

The advantage of this system, to the extent that there is one, is that it’s easier to base scholarship awards on college G.P.A.’s and majors. Given how specific many of the donors are (must be an x major from town a, b, or c, with a GPA of at least 3.z…), the only way to meet some of the criteria is retroactively. Let students go through two years on their own dime, then see who fits and give them a pat on the back as they walk out the door.

Still, for a college that’s struggling for enrollment, this strikes me as bass ackwards.

It strikes me as a high school model. For a public high school, it makes sense to award scholarships as the kids graduate, since there’s no tuition (or charge for books) in the first place. But we charge tuition, and our students buy their own books.

Don’t most colleges use scholarships for recruitment? Isn’t that typically their primary function?

Is this typical for cc’s? Am I the only one who finds this strange?

Most of the recommendation letters I write are for students completing their first year and going into their second (and usually final) year at the cc.
Your system does seem odd. My public 4 year college has placed a major focus of fundraising on scholarships over the last 10 years. It has clearly helped us recruit better students. We now hand out modest scholarships,$500 to $2000 range, to several hundred incoming first year students each year. In addition there are now a number of departmental based scholarships. We typically award ours to a junior. The money is important to some, but often the recognition is equally important. Why would a college give that up?
It's not just cc's. My undergrad school did the same thing - I went to a private liberal arts school. I was in the top 1% of my high school class (out of 400) and was offered one scholarship coming in, but during my jr & sr years, I was offered five. A lot of my friends there had the same experience.
It does not seem to be the norm, in my experience, among 4 year colleges and universities. Scholarship money is THE primary recruiting tool for most students and the determining factor concerning their attendance. Usually there are very few scholarships available once you are here.
I'm at a private R1 rather than a public cc. Our scholarships are very front-loaded, so the money is used to recruit incoming freshment and declines as the years pass. I guess they figure a rising senior will find the necessary money to pay for that last year *somewhere* but it seems to me like pulling the rug out.
I the financial aid director at a large four year public. Our endowed awrds seem to go to juniors and seniors as well. It certainly seems bass ackwards to me as well. As near as I can tell the departments see it as a reward for their majors doing well (sticking with them?). I suppose that's an OK philosophy but it certainly doesn't influence decisions to enroll. If you are trying to attract more students it seems to me that you'd want to put money in that direction. This argument does not seem to carry any weight.
Yes my cc does, but it's not too obscene. The local bank has a trust with the cc to donate half it's profits to the cc students. I think it's more profitable for the college and students to offer scholarships to students coming in. Because as a graduating high school senior, I had no money, for books or tuition, so having that financial support right off the bat, was awesome. Pardon any misspellings, I got my hair cut for the first time in like two years and I think some of my intelligence went with it...
Most of ours go to current students finishing year 1. I'm not sure any of them go with them to other schools.

Hubby's expensive private undergrad school had no financial aid for part-time students and by the time he got to be a full-time student in his senior year there was nothing there for someone with a 4.0 and a national debate championship trophy--- really pathetic!
This does seem a little odd. My university tends to give scholarships to incoming freshmen as a recruiting tool. Some of these are one-year-only, but most are for all four years. In my department, students who show significant growth are often rewarded with a "raise" in their junior/senior years. (At the other end of the spectrum are schools that "frontload" by giving large scholarship packages to freshmen, but the scholarships diminish each year, while tuition rates go up and up.)
I'm at a CC, and we also give the vast majority of our scholarship money to students who are transferring to other institutions. I've never heard a good justification for this, but one I can think of is that it gives our good students some help as they adjust to their new circumstances. Plus, faculty get to feel good seeing their favorite students rewarded. However, it does seem like incoming students, or those with financial problems at the college itself, may in fact be more deserving of the funds.
This seems like it would make sense. I was under the impression that cc were cheaper than most other places, especially non-public ones; most people can probably afford cc tuition, but may not be able to afford it somewhere else.
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