On Saturday, the College held its annual Accepted Students Day, a series of open-house events and information sessions designed to convince high school seniors that the College is the right place for them.
However, this might prove a harder sell in a year that has seen large-scale cuts in the College’s budget, including the elimination of the Outstanding Scholar Recruitment Program (OSRP).
“That was definitely a concern of ours,” Christina V. Puglia, senior Admissions counselor, said. “But we did a comparison between ourselves and some of the schools in the immediate area, and we found that the cost of four years at (the College) is still very competitive, even without the OSRP program.”
Even so, the emphasis at the “Funding Your Education!” presentation held as part of the Accepted Students Day events was on encouraging potential incoming students to find their own scholarship and loan opportunities.
While no mention was made during the presentation that OSRP had been cut, Robert Alston, associate director of Student Financial Services, directed accepted students to the College’s student financial assistance Web page to fill out an electronic form reporting any scholarships that students had obtained independently.
According to Puglia, many students have already filled out applications for merit scholarships from the College and some have received notice of their awards. But these merit scholarships do not come close to matching OSRP scholarships in terms of the number of students who receive them, according to Lisa Angeloni, dean of Admissions.
“We can give out about 900 scholarships to incoming students,” Angeloni said. “That’s not that much when you compare it to the OSRP ones.”
The College is also unable to match the full-ride scholarships that existed under OSRP. The highest merit scholarship given out by the College is $8,000. The yearly total undergraduate cost for in-state students last year was $19,416, while the cost for out-of-state students was $25,962. And those numbers are likely to increase next year, according to Alston. He said that tuition may not be set definitively until June or July.
Angeloni noted that there was at least one benefit to the way in which the new merit scholarship program is administered. “The way OSRP worked is, it was automatic and the state distributed the money,” she said. “If a student’s class rank was just a fraction of a point below the top 10, we couldn’t give him that extra money. Now that the College is in charge of distributing awards, we can look and compare how competitive the schools are and see that, if that person has just below a certain class rank but is at a very competitive school, we can give him the money.”
However, it still remains to be seen whether the reduction in the number of scholarships that can be awarded to incoming freshmen will have an effect on how many students actually choose to come to the College.
“In his case, it probably won’t have an effect,” Dennis Sheppard said in reference to his son, Michael Billings, a student at Lawrence High School who is considering attending the College in the fall. “But we have another (child) on the way up who it probably will.”