Town & Gown: JSU scholarships prove successful
This article was written by Emil Loeken, a graduate assistant in the Jacksonville State University Office of Public Relations

Jacksonville State University has always strived to assist students with the financial burden of college by offering scholarship opportunities and financial aid. In 2010, JSU announced some major changes concerning their university scholarships. Students who applied to JSU with the qualifying ACT or SAT score and appropriate grade point average would automatically be offered a scholarship.

According to Martin Weldon, Assistant Director of Student Financial Services, Scholarships and Veteran’s Affairs, the university’s academic scholarship budget has, since 2010, increased by more than 50 percent, now totaling over $5,000,000.

“We went from approximately 400 academic scholarships offered to over 1,300 during that time frame,” Weldon said. “We have been fortunate that President Meehan and the Board of Trustees are committed to our academic scholarship program and continue to support its funding. By offering these scholarships, it lessens the need for student loans.”

In 2010, Dr. Tim King, Associate Vice President for Enrollment Management and Student Affairs, said the university’s scholarship change would take JSU in a new direction.

Even though JSU’s enrollment goal of 10,000 students has yet to be reached, the change has proved successful. T

he last two academic years have set a record high for first-time freshmen enrollment and the average ACT score for incoming freshmen has increased from 19 to 22.3.

According to Weldon, the improved ACT scores have impacted the faculty by filling classrooms with high achieving students.

At the end of the 2013 spring semester, we will have our first four years complete and we will be able to determine the graduation rate for each scholarship,” Weldon said. “The results of the evaluation will be determined in a few years. That way, we can make a comparison for each academic year.”

JSU still works hard on their Strategic Enrollment Management Plan geared toward bringing more students to the “friendliest campus in the South.” The plan aims to provide more non-loan-based financial aid opportunities. According to Weldon, a lot of work is performed by the Office of University Development, which coordinates the university’s private sector fundraising efforts.

“In the face of shrinking state support for higher education, JSU relies increasingly on the generous support of its friends, alumni, and benefactors,” Weldon said.

“These scholarships are transforming JSU, bringing in even more hardworking students,” says Dr. Rebecca Turner, Provost and Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs. “Even with the shrinking state support, JSU awarded over $3,800,000 in scholarships to a total of 1,050 students this semester.”

Each academic scholarship comes with its own requirements and advantages. The scholarships benefit students with ACT scores of at least 22 and SAT scores of at least 1030. In order to renew the assistance, students must be enrolled as full-time students, completing a minimum if 12 hours. The students must also maintain the minimum qualifying grade point average, which varies from 3.0 to 3.25.

The scholarships are not only available to Alabama residents, but also to residents in ten contiguous counties in Georgia.

The university scholarships are:

Gem of the Hills Scholar - requires an ACT score of 22 or an SAT score of 1030, covers six in-state tuition hours per semester.

Gamecock Scholar - requires an ACT score of 24 or an SAT score of 1110, covers nine in-state tuition hours per semester.

Faculty Scholar - requires an ACT of 26 or an SAT score of 1190, covers sixteen in-state tuition hours per semester and books.

Elite Scholar - requires an ACT score of 30 or an SAT score of 1340, covers sixteen in-state tuition hours per semester, housing and meal plan.

Camellia Scholar (Out of State) – requires an ACT score of 30 or an SAT score of 1340, covers sixteen in-state tuition hours per semester.

Magnolia Scholar (Out of State) - requires an ACT score of 26 or an SAT score of 1190, covers nine in-state tuition hours per semester.

Mimosa Scholar (Out of State) - requires an ACT of 24 or an SAT of 1110, covers six in-state tuition hours per semester.

(For more on JSU Scholarships, please visit the Financial Aid website: http://www.jsu.edu/finaid.)
© 2012