Home Education New awards program gives Gateway, minority scholarships the boot

New awards program gives Gateway, minority scholarships the boot

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A new Ohio University scholarship program touted for its flexibility and broadness will be making its debut next academic year, replacing a number of staple university scholarships on its way in.

The program, called the Signature awards, will replace Gateway scholarships and numerous diversity scholarships beginning in the 2014-15 school year.

The awards “take the best of the old Gateway (program) and move it into a broader program,” said Craig Cornell, vice president for enrollment management.

The Gateway program allocated money based on how well students performed on the SAT and ACT. Under Gateway, if a student scored a 32 or better on the ACT, they automatically received a full-tuition scholarship. The Signature program, on the contrary, will take a closer look at students’ qualifications.

“We really want to look at students holistically,” Cornell said.

The university will offer eight Signature awards, one being a full-tuition scholarship — called the Premier — that will only be given to Honors Tutorial College students.

“You can receive multiple (awards) and that adds up to full tuition or most of tuition,” Cornell said.

The next-highest scholarship, the Achievement award, will offer up to $6,000 to students who score above a certain number on the ACT or SAT.

The King/Chavez/Parks Award and the Ohio University Incentive Award, both diversity scholarships, will also be replaced by the Signature awards.

Tsasia Mercado, a senior and recipient of the incentive award, said that scholarships alone are not enough to draw in and keep multicultural students at OU.

“The amount of African-American students that are here — the little that there are — they would not be here if it were not for the LINKS program,” she said.

Students who receive diversity scholarships must go through LINKS, a peer-mentoring program designed to ease first-year multicultural students into university life.

“It’s because of (LINKS) that people feel at home the little bit that they do when they’re here,” Mercado said.

She said that, in her opinion, the university does not do a good job of bringing in multicultural students.

“When I came here (from New Jersey), it was like a culture shock just seeing all white faces,” Mercado said.

The Office for Multicultural Student Access and Retention offers other diversity scholarships, including the Rankin Scholarship and the Templeton, Appalachian and Urban Scholars programs.

However, some of those programs have been significantly cut.

Danielle Limon, a Templeton scholar, said she has seen the Appalachian and Urban Scholars programs lose money since she enrolled in 2011.

The Urban Scholars program, which began in 2000, has reduced the number of scholarships it offers from 10 to one.

Cornell said the university hopes to restore the number to 10 with money from the Promise Lives fundraising campaign.

“I think OU definitely tries very hard to bring in different students of different backgrounds,” Limon said. “While we have a large number of international students, we have a very low number of minority students…There’s more work to do.”

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