By NICOLETTE VALLEE
It is time for the students at UMW to be able to retain possession of scholarships without the obligation to live on campus. While the University has thirteen residence halls that offer upperclassmen housing, they do not fulfill the need for independence for students.
There are many different types of scholarships given by UMW to their students. The scholarship awards that are most commonly affected by renewal issues are merit and curriculum based, such as the following: Presidential Award, Presidential Diversity, Blue & Gray Award, Transfer Award, Eagle Award, Talon Award, Scholastic Excellence, and International Award.
Each has a different set of criteria that must be met to obtain the scholarship, though they all have the same ways of losing them. The most common issues addressed are not meeting GPA requirements, not meeting enrollment criteria, and moving off campus. If a student receives an academic scholarship, then the only thing that should have an effect on their funds are academics and student conduct violations. If they are maintaining the GPA required and being an honorable student, then nothing should get in the way of them getting the funds they need.
These claims may seem very obvious, however, students are unfairly being punished for living off campus. What’s most alarming is that it is essentially beyond student control.
Junior business administration major, Quintin Ricci, received the the Eagle Award merit scholarship. Also being a member of the men’s lacrosse team, moving off campus after sophomore year to live with his teammates was a personal necessity. There is no question that Ricci is a model student as well, he recently got elected into the business administration national honor society, Sigma Beta Delta.
After his scholarships was not renewed, “I attempted to appeal the issue after being told I would probably receive a partial scholarship. However, the University denied my appeal and I lost the entirety of the funds,” Ricci said.
The fact that these students are eligible for the scholarships and receive them, but then get them taken away is unfair.
Scholarships are becoming one of the best options for students and their families, due to the fact that they are much less costly than loans and most of the time are not too difficult to obtain. A 2014 College Board study reported that 122.7 billion dollars of scholarship and grant funds were given to students in the US from both public and private universities. It is obvious from this report that students rely on these scholarships in order to further their education.
Junior biology major, Malorie Joseph, was also affected by the on campus housing rule. When asked why she chose to move off campus, she said, “I wanted to be able to learn and grow as an adult, which I don’t think could have happened as efficiently if I stayed in dorm-style living until senior year.”
The housing on campus at UMW for upperclassmen is far too similar to the dorms we all lived in freshman year. Though this might not bother some, most of the students I have spoken to about this issue are eager to change their surroundings once they have the ability to. Like Joseph touched on, being able to live completely on your own grows your skills in terms of money management, housekeeping and a plethora of other responsibilities, which may not be experienced in college otherwise.
So why does UMW continue to keep this rule? While I’m sure the university doesn’t want to limit student independence, I do believe they intend to keep students on campus for money purposes. Both the merit and curriculum scholarships listed above vary in terms of money given to students.
On the UMW Admissions website, both scholarship categories range from $1,000-5,000 a year for in-state students, and $5,000-9,000 for out-of-state students. Seems fair enough. Now, compare that to the cost of living on campus. The lowest price for a standard double, which is the highest provided option for dorms across campus, runs at $3,322 per semester. That’s $6,644 a year.
Essentially, if an in-state student receives as high as $5,000 dollars for a scholarship, the student is then almost covering their room and board rates, a win-win situation for both the student and the school. However, if a student moves off of campus, and could still receive that hard-earned 5,000, the school doesn’t benefit, but instead loses money.
Students receiving scholarship money should be allowed to live off campus without having consequential restraints on their well-earned financial benefits. UMW should alter the criteria that must be met in order to maintain a scholarship.