Tuesday, May 08, 2012

weighing the variables

Ordinarily we are past the scholarship season. Application deadlines have come and gone, incoming data (along with essays) has been evaluated, rankings applied and recipients notified of their award. Due to some technical issues beyond my control, one of the scholarships managed by my office is only now receiving applications. Because we are behind the usual curve of timeliness in making those awards I am trying to make up for that time by reviewing the applications as they come in and rank them accordingly.

The scholarship in question is intended for students who are coming to college after a break of at least five years from a previous educational tenure. That might mean high school, or perhaps a collection of semesters begun at college at an earlier time.

It happens that there are a hefty number of applicants who have completed junior or community college work and are moving forward to complete their four-year degree.  There's a bit of a gray area around eligibility for those students, but they do qualify in some respects. Still, I'm feeling cautious about how I weight that criteria against the purer eligibility components of other students.

For the sake of argument: all other things being equal, who should be favored in awarding a scholarship? The student with the 3.4 GPA coming from a community college, or the 2.5 who has struggled to make ends meet working as a chef and has decided it's time to go for the sheepskin with a BA (or BS) stamped on it? That's a hypothetical, but I'm curious as to how others would make this decision.


And thank you for weighing in.


Terri said...

only one person can receive the scholarship? Is there anything in the intention of the scholarship that would sway you one way or the other - toward the "chef" or the community college transitioning to 4 year? I almost always want to weigh toward the person of need, the one who might not otherwise have a chance....I can see why this is a difficult decision.

The Bug said...

Well, as a for example, Mike was NOT a standout student at Wake Forest - his GPA wouldn't make anyone stand up & take notice. So when he applied to graduate school 10 years later we were glad that he was accepted. And boy howdy did he THRIVE after being given that second chance!

Sometimes a person who's been through some "life" has a greater appreciation for the gift of education. After all, they're switching gears & paying for it themselves this time around.

I say give it to the student who matches the intention of the scholarship.


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