Class of 2011 not offered OSRP money

The Class of 2011 is the first class at the College that has not been awarded the Outstanding Scholar Recruitment Program (OSRP) scholarship, according to Rob Buonocore, director of admissions operations and technology.

“As far as I know, there was some talk of bringing it back but each time it is mentioned to be brought back, the state cuts it down,” Buonocore said. “In admissions, as of the other day, we don’t have OSRP. We are not expecting it back.”

OSRP, formally one of the biggest scholarships the College has offered, was cut last year by the state. It was cut after the Class of 2010 was brought in, resulting in the College being forced to fully pay for each scholarship, when it normally would have to pay only 30 percent, Buonocore said.

This semester was the first time in 10 years that the College has had to recruit students without being able to advertise OSRP.

“Students certainly knew about OSRP. They may not have known about the OSRP program but they knew about the money they could have received,” Buonocore said.

Currently, the College offers other minor scholarships such as Chairman of the Board and the Bonner Scholarship.

Though there is no expectation of OSRP being reinstated at the College, College President R. Barbara Gitenstein has been fighting for it, Buonocore said.

Gitenstein has written an op-ed piece published in the Record regarding its importance. The College’s Web site includes suggestions on how to get in contact with state legislators and the governor within the Media and Public Relations section.

According to a February 2007 press release by the College, “The OSRP has increased the number of top scholars enrolling in New Jersey colleges and universities by approximately 50 percent.”

“The (OSRP) has provided an extraordinarily efficient means for keeping our state’s best students in New Jersey,” Gitenstein said in the press release.

“Eliminating the (OSRP) will negatively impact our economy, our educational system and the quality of life of New Jersey residents. I hope that New Jersey can find the means to reinvigorate its commitment to merit aid for high-achieving students,” she continued.

The loss of OSRP has had some positive qualities. For one thing, the College does not have to answer to the state’s strict guidelines on how the money is distributed, according to Buonocore.

“There was zero flexibility in administering rules,” he said. “Now it’s our money. We get to be more holistic, not just base it on SATs and class rank, which is what the state did. In some ways we were kind of glad to get away with that but the pool of money is smaller.”

Despite the loss of OSRP, the College still managed to increase enrollment from the previous year by one student.