EDITORIAL: Restructuring of scholarship program leaves students confused

Scholarship cartoon

The issue: With the restructuring of the scholarship program, the incoming freshmen of fall 2016 who are alumni of the Governor’s Scholars Program feel as if they’ve been slighted.

Our stance: While the restructuring does take away a significant opportunity for GSP alumni, there now seem to be more opportunities for other students.


Starting next fall, the scholarship rewards system will function differently than it has in the past. With this change, more automatic scholarships will be awarded to students, but the awards will amount to less money. This change will affect Governor’s Scholars Program alumni the most, and it caused a rise in complaints on Twitter last week. WKU, instead of covering in-state tuition, now automatically offers GSP alumni just $1,500. 

While the automatic reward for GSP alumni has changed, there are still opportunities for incoming freshmen to receive larger amounts. According to the university’s scholarship webpage, the highest award will still be given through the Cherry Presidential scholarship: select recipients will receive $16,000, and remaining finalists will receive $12,000. Academic Merit Awards are still being given to anyone who applies for admission by the Jan. 15 deadline. Depending on the applicant’s ACT score and GPA, any student can earn $1,500 to $8,000 through the merit awards.

GSP alumni are upset about this change, and rightfully so, but if their being awarded less money allowed other students to receive scholarships that weren’t available before, the change doesn’t seem like such a big problem. Incoming transfer students from other universities used to get nothing, and students who transferred from the KCTCS were only awarded scholarships if they completed their associate’s degree before their first semester at WKU. Now with the restructuring, any transfer student with a GPA of 3.5 or higher will be awarded scholarships automatically; the student will also be able to apply for the presidential award.

As for current students, there is no change. We can still apply (or reapply) for the presidential scholarship and any others by completing the returning student scholarship application by the April 15 deadline.

If the goal was to make scholarship money more accessible to more incoming students—even though the awards are smaller—the restructurers did an okay job. There seems to be less money devoted to a single group of students and more options available to students who didn’t go to the GSP.