Prospective students face greater competition for scholarships

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    The increased number of freshman applications to TCU has created greater competition for academic scholarships in the incoming class, a university official said.

    Associate Dean of Admission Wes Waggoner said the university had received 17,676 applications as of Feb. 8, about 3,500 more than last year’s total. The increased competition for admission also means higher standards for scholarship consideration, he said.

    Waggoner said TCU awards scholarships through competition between admission applicants, so no specific guidelines for designating each level of scholarship exist.

    Other universities, such as Baylor University, use a system that automatically places a student in a specific scholarship tier based on factors such as grade point average and test scores, regardless of how many students meet those requirements.

    “If you take a student that last year was at this level and may have gotten a [Dean’s Scholarship], it is very possible that this year they would not get a Dean’s,” Waggoner said. “They might get a smaller scholarship.”

    The academic scholarships that TCU awards are the Chancellor’s Scholarship (full tuition), Dean’s ($14,000 per year), Faculty ($10,500), TCU ($7,500) and Founders ($3,500), Waggoner said.

    The university tries to increase the value of academic scholarships for every freshman class to match the increase in tuition, he said. However, the value of an individual student’s scholarship does not increase each year once it is awarded.

    Ben Prinster, a senior at Fossil Ridge High School in Fort Collins, Colo., said he applied and had been accepted to TCU but was disappointed that he had not received a scholarship notification yet. Prinster said TCU is one of his top options for college, and had received scholarship offers from the University of Oregon and the University of Colorado.

    Prinster said he understood how competitive the process is due to the high number of applicants, but would be disappointed if he did not receive a scholarship from TCU.

    “I feel like with participation (in extracurricular activities) and as far as GPA goes that I would at least receive some kind of scholarship, but nothing overwhelming,” Prinster said.

    Director of Scholarships and Student Financial Aid Mike Scott said the competition for academic scholarships would not affect other sources of aid, such as need-based grants and loans.

    Despite the increased competition, Scott said he expected the portion of TCU students with academic scholarships to remain the same in the fall. Approximately 40 percent of the freshman class will have an academic scholarship he said.

    Scott said dealing with more applications is difficult, but it is a sign that the TCU brand is strong. The Office of Financial Aid recently received approval to hire a new counselor to help with the increased workload, he said.

    “It’s a problem, but it’s a good problem to have,” Scott said.