Changes coming to STU entrance scholarships

Starting in 2021, St. Thomas University will no longer offer guaranteed entrance scholarships to university applicants with a high school average of 80 per cent or higher.

Instead of them being automatically credited upon admission, incoming students will fill out an application for these scholarships by March 1.

STU’s associate vice-president communications Jeffrey Carleton said this change gives the admissions department more freedom to make offers and give other awards when recruiting students.

“The last day to add or drop courses for us is around Sept. 15. So you could show up on the 14 and apply to be a student after classes were started, and we would automatically give you an entrance scholarship.”

“That didn’t make a lot of sense from a process perspective.”

Under the new system, there will be a set budget for entrance scholarships. If there is money remaining in that budget after they’ve given out the scholarships to those that applied, more scholarships will be awarded, likely on a first come, first serve basis.

There are three renewable entrance scholarships students can apply for and the amounts are unchanged.

The St. Thomas Renewable Advantage Scholarship is valued at $500. Applicants will be considered if they have an average of 80 to 84.4 per cent. The St. Thomas Renewable Achievement Scholarship is valued at $1,000 and incoming students with an average of 84.5 to 89.4 per cent will be considered. The St. Thomas Renewable Scholars Scholarship is valued at $2,000 and applicants with an average of 90 per cent or higher will be considered.

All three are renewable if the student’s GPA is 3.7 or higher. However, like previous years, the Scholars Scholarship is only renewable at $1,000 per year.

STU’s director of admissions, Michelle Wright, said the new process allows the selection committee to learn more about students.

“I think it’s important for students to have to prepare and submit something and put in the work and it gives us as the selection committee a good feeling of them as a person and why they’re qualified and why we should consider them for these awards,” she said.

Carleton said donors like knowing their money is helping students and an added application process helps STU match entrance scholarships to donors.

“We have a process in place where we can say, ‘Okay, this person is giving us money for scholarships or entrance scholarships, what kind of student do they want to support? What do they want to do?’”

“We need an application process and we need as much information as possible in order to make that match work.”

He also said STU’s major competitors such as Mount Allison University are moving away from guaranteed scholarships.

“We keep a very close eye on our top competitors. We’re moving toward the structure and operation of how they do their entrance programs.”

However, Carleton said the new process will be reviewed after its first cycle and continue to review annually.

“We’re going to monitor this on an annual basis once it’s operationalized to see what impact that it’s having on students but also on our ability to recruit students.”

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