For the first time in almost nine years, the Student Government Association allocated $20,000 to a scholarship for seniors with demonstrated financial need at their last meeting of the fall semester on Dec. 11.
The scholarship is designed as a nonrenewable award and includes seniors who are international and transfer students. There is no application process since all seniors are reviewed using their FAFSA and CSS profiles. Seniors must maintain a GPA of 2.0 or higher to receive the scholarship. This requirement is lower than the 2.7 GPA suggested at the Oct. 2 SGA meeting.
According to Executive Treasurer Ian Mandt, the $3,000 gift SGA awarded to a senior with demonstrated need last fall began the scholarship. Mandt said the new eligibility standards will go into effect this semester and the first senior will receive the award at the start of the next academic year.
SGA obtained the money from the student activities fee, an $836 charge all undergraduate students pay every year with their tuition and fees. The SGA constitution requires SGA to spend the money to benefit students, which typically means funding student organizations.
SGA did not announce how many people will receive the scholarship.
“If anyone ever says SGA does nothing, say ‘Bruh, we made a scholarship.” Executive Vice President Raz Moayed said.
According to Mandt, SGA originally planned to place $25,000 in the senior scholarship—however, the Student Government chose to grant $5,000 of that money to the Lions for Lions scholarship.
The Lions for Lions scholarship is the Class of 2016’s Senior Gift meant to assist students who suddenly find themselves in a financial need. SGA learned there would not be enough money to offer the Lions for Lions scholarship at $50,000, but chose to allocate the $5,000 to inspire students to vote for the potential scholarship in the next round of Voice Your Choice in the spring.
Executive President Jessica Guida stressed at the Oct. 2 SGA meeting that the SGA scholarship is not part of the college’s efforts to make attendance more affordable.
The $20,000 supplements money from an old SGA scholarship that remained dormant since 2008 due to ethical concerns regarding its selection process. Previously, SGA members participated in the selection, which potentially allowed bias to affect the process of choosing which student should receive the money.
Under the new criteria, Director of Financial Aid Angela Grant and Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs Sharon Duffy will select the recipient based on need.
SGA does not award the money placed in the scholarship fund itself, which is called the principal fund. Rather, it awards the interest the principal fund collects. The principal fund compounds interest at the federally mandated rate of 2.25 percent, but the Board of Trustees only allows SGA to award 5 percent of the balance to students.