Story by Mikayla Marshall, Staff writer
As the tuition increases for incoming freshmen at Murray State, so do scholarship opportunities.
Upon evaluation, the university decided to create a new scholarship model that offers higher amounts, but will be more competitive. The National Merit scholarship will also be added to the list of scholarships incoming freshmen can apply for.
The university is raising its expectations and looking for students with the characteristics to succeed.
“It will impact enrollment for the better,” said Jackie Dudley, vice president of Finance and Administrative Services.
The new scholarship model will focus more toward the performance of students and have higher standards for grades and ACT scores. The school hopes to better the student population by bringing in the best people, who will add more to the academics on campus.
University officials hope to increase enrollment gradually, so it can handle the growth with ease.
President Bob Davies said another financial change that may be implemented is the uncapping of tuition hours. Students would be able to take more hours as long as they can pay for them. He said this would only affect incoming freshmen in fall 2016 and will need to be approved by the Board of Regents first.
“It’s good in a way,” Kristen Stephens, sophomore from Hopkinsville, Kentucky, said. “That way they get students who don’t slack off.”
She said she believes the new scholarship model will create an incentive for incoming freshmen to try harder. The new model will only be for incoming freshmen’s benefit – students already enrolled on campus will receive none of the benefits.
“If you’re going to get scholarships you have to work for them,” said Lukas Rice, junior from Mayfield, Kentucky.
Rice received several scholarships from Murray State that helped him pay for most of his tuition. He said that he worked hard in high school for his grades so he could be considered for scholarships when it came time to apply.
However, some students see the new model as unfair.
“The ACT doesn’t test how smart you are,” said Ashley Moats, sophomore from Fargo, North Dakota. “It tests how well you can take a test.”
Moats said if a student is a senior and hasn’t been the perfect student all through high school, but wants to change their work ethic to be eligible for scholarships, then they might feel as though it’s a waste of time because they can’t go back a change everything.
This will also affect students from out-of-state, who pay double what in-state students pay but will have a harder time receiving scholarships. Moats said she took out a substantial amount of student loans because her tuition is so high. She said she chose Murray State because she fell in love with the school and wanted to keep her horse on campus.