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A spirit that is not afraid

The ins and outs of scholarships

Each spring, the Auburn University Office of University Scholarships awards scholarships to incoming freshmen for the next school year and general scholarships for current enrolled students.

Velda Rooker, director of University scholarships, said there are three levels of Spirit of Auburn Scholarships awarded to incoming freshmen.

The first is the SOA Presidential Scholarship, which covers tuition for four years and gives a $1,000 technology stipend for the fall, requires a minimum 32 ACT and 3.5 GPA.

The second is the Spirit of Auburn Founders Scholarship requires a minimum 30 ACT and 3.5 GPA and covers tuition for four years.

The third is Spirit of Auburn Scholarship requires a minimum 28 ACT, 3.5 GPA and provides $3,000 for four years, according to Rooker.

Rooker said academic scholarships are also offered for non-Alabama residents.

Rooker said there are certain requirements that should be met for renewal purposes once the scholarships have been awarded or else the student loses the scholarship.

“If they are going to lose them, they will lose them after the fall semester, and students lose them as late as fall of their junior year,” Rooker said.

Rooker said the percentage of students who lose their scholarships typically decreases after freshman year.

The adjustments the students are making while trying to adapt to a new environment may be one of the key reasons students lose the scholarships during their freshman year, according to Rooker.

“I think it’s just mainly normal first year adjustment,” Rooker said. “Some students are studying much differently than they studied before. It is completely different material. They are learning a lot about themselves and how to live on their own.”

Rooker said many things can come into play that have nothing to do with academics.

“There a lot of students who did well in high school, and (college is) hard and they find the academic rigor much more challenging than they anticipated,” Rooker said. “They don’t really know how to handle that, and that’s really overwhelming.”

However, once a student loses a scholarship, he or she still has hope, Rooker said.

“We have an appeals process,” Rooker said. “And we notify students who have not met the requirements for renewal at the end of each year. We send the student an email and let them know they have not met the requirements for renewal,” Rooker said. “We outline the appeals process. They are allowed to submit a letter of appeal and any supporting documentation that they would like to, and that appeal is reviewed by the University scholarships committee, which is appointed by the president.”

Rooker said the committee is comprised of faculty, administrators, graduate and undergraduate students.

Rooker said the appeals considered are mostly ones that have extenuating circumstances. Students send appeals from students admitting they haven’t studied enough, to those who had deaths in the family.

Appeals are then reviewed and voted on for further action, according to Rooker.

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“We really try to be proactive,” Rooker said. “We do not want to cancel anyone’s scholarship if we do not have to, so we used to send only one reminder in the spring many years ago, and we would only send it to students who were below 3.0 after fall.”

Rooker said now three reminders are sent within the fall and spring for a total of six reminders throughout the year.

“The first email is a reminder you have to be enrolled for x amount of hours as of the 15th class day in order for your scholarship to disperse, the mid-semester email is about campus resources if a students is struggling and the last one is a reminder that as they go for finals these are the requirements for renewal,” Rooker said.

Rooker said there are donor-funded scholarships based on giving and a stewardship that is not driven by major but departmental scholarships.

Will Register, senior in accounting, was awarded the Presidential Scholarship.

“College is definitely a lot harder than high school,” Will said. “It’s somewhat stressful to keep my grades up trying to keep the scholarship.”

Will said he would have enjoyed ceremonies or functions that enabled him to meet with other people who were also awarded the scholarship.

Dustin Register, junior in supply chain management, said he was also awarded the Presidential Scholarship.

“You have to maintain a 3.0 [GPA,] and that’s an extra motivator to stay above that and do my courses,” Dustin said.

Dustin said the scholarship helped him have security in knowing he could attend Auburn University for four years with his tuition covered. 

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