Academic merit scholarships double


Sean Sauro, Managing Editor

The percentage of freshmen receiving scholarships this academic year has more than doubled since last year, according to the Winter 2012 Pitt-Johnstown Community Report.

Last year, about 20 percent of all freshmen received scholarships, and this year that number has risen to nearly 44 percent.

These scholarships range from $1,500 to complete tuition coverage, according to the report.

Admissions and Recruitment Director Therese Grimes said, though the number of distributed scholarships has risen, recipient criteria remain the same.

“If a student meets our academic scholarship requirements, they will get a scholarship,” she said.

These requirements include achieving at least a 1040 score on the SAT in math and critical reading and being graduated from high school with at least a 3.2 GPA, Grimes said.

“Once a student receives a scholarship, they have to maintain a 3.0 GPA,” Grimes said. “The financial aid office will then reinstate the scholarship.”

She said these scholarships are distributed to reward incoming students for achievement.

Grimes said the money for scholarship distributions comes from a partially donated scholarship fund.

“We have a pretty healthy fund,” she said. “A portion of it is endowed with specific criteria set to it.”

While awarding freshmen scholarships is a benefit for students, the university appears to benefit as well.

According to the report, since the increase in scholarship distribution, the university has received a 9 percent increase in tuition deposits.

Grimes said, though scholarships are not used as an admission strategy, they are helpful.

“As a public college, our tuition is lower, but we are still competing with private schools, because they’re awarding heavy scholarships,” she said.

“The fact that our tuition is low attracts students anyway, but the scholarships are a nice addition.”

Freshman engineering-technology student Jonathan Findish said being granted a scholarship influenced his decision to attend Pitt-Johnstown.

“Getting extra money and feeling like (administrators) really wanted me to come to school here definitely swayed my decision,” he said, adding that the scholarship also motivates him to strive for higher academic goals.

In order to retain his scholarship, he said, he must maintain an increasing GPA each year.

“High school came really easy to me without a lot of work,” Findish said. “The fact that I’m getting money to keep my grades up makes me try a lot harder.”