COLUMBIA — In an effort to remain competitive and increase enrollment, MU is rolling out financial aid changes effective fall 2014 for eligible, first-time college students.
The plan includes introducing one new scholarship and raising the award value of two others.
MU administration expects the changes will bring in about 350 new students, spokeswoman Mary Jo Banken said.
The three scholarships cover 22 percent to 69 percent of tuition, depending on academic ability and the student's residential status. They are:
- The new Chancellor’s Award scholarship, for in-state students, which provides $6,500 to qualified applicants, or about 69 percent of the total yearly tuition cost.
- The Curators Award, available to eligible in-state students, up from $3,500 to $4,500.
- The Mark Twain Non-resident Scholarship award ranges from $5,000 to $10,000, or about 22 percent to about 44 percent of the total yearly tuition cost. Previously, this scholarship awarded $2,000 to $5,500, according to the MU News Bureau. The range depends on class and standardized test rank, Banken said. "The highest award would require at least a 30 ACT and top 25 percent of the class," she said.
For the 2013-14 academic year, in-state, undergraduate students enrolled in 14 credit hours can expect to pay $9,430 per year, according to the MU Office of Undergraduate Admissions. Conversely, out-of-state undergraduate students can expect to pay $22,822 annually.
Depending on the award, students can use the scholarship for other educational expenses besides tuition.
"The Mark Twain awards are only applied to the out-of-state portion of tuition. The award is reduced if the out-of-state portion is paid by other means," Banken said. The other awards can be used for other educational expenses, such as housing, in addition to tuition, she said.
There are 9,199 out-of-state students at MU, according to the 2013 University of Missouri Fact Book. Out-of-state students make up about 26.5 percent of MU’s total enrollment.
All three scholarships require a composite ACT score of at least 27 or higher.
The average ACT score of MU students is 25.7, the state average is 21.6, and the national average is 20.9, according to the fact book.
MU's scholarships have remained relatively unchanged for the past 20 years, Banken said.
"We have made some small modifications to the Mark Twain award over the last five years or so, but nothing nearly as significant as these changes," she said. "In fall 2011, we raised the Mark Twain slightly, and we added smaller awards for those who were in the top 50 percent of their class. They could get either $3,000 or $2,000 depending on their test score. Prior to that, we had only awarded the Mark Twain to those in the top 25 percent of their class."
MU is covering the cost of the scholarships in hopes that the new students it attracts will fund the increases.
"We’re funding scholarship increases from our own revenues, which will increase as the result of our ability to attract more students," MU Chancellor Brady Deaton said. "We may find ways of getting private support. We’ve made the commitment to reallocate funds in that direction as appropriate. We expect the attraction of new students will provide new revenues to support this."
Deaton said that as measured by undergraduate enrollment, MU has been the fastest-growing public university among Association of American Universities members. He said he hopes funding the scholarship changes will promote his goals of maintaining growth, consistency and quality among MU students.
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