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2/9/2005

Westminster to offer unique scholarships


February 9, 2005

The Salt Lake Tribune

By Shinika A. Sykes

Applicants for Westminster's "exemplary achievement scholarship" must be first-year or transfer students in good academic standing with a minimum B-grade average. They also must include a personal statement or essay; a resumé that lists activities, awards and achievements; and at least two letters of recommendation.

The deadline is March 1. Finalists will be notified by March 15. Applications are available on Westminster's Web site at www.westminstercollege.edu. Most colleges and universities award scholarships to students with high academic achievements and high test scores.

But that's not the case for students who haven't taken advanced college courses or expect to graduate at the top of their class. They are, however, good students who have some uncertainty about their chances of competing on a college campus.

Westminster College of Salt Lake City aims to change that picture.

Beginning this fall, the private liberal arts college will present 10 exemplary achievement awards - each valued at $60,000 over four years - for students who have overcome a life challenge or disadvantages. The program is aimed at both first-year and transfer students.

The $60,000 scholarship means that for four years Westminster will absorb $15,000 of its yearly $18,145 tuition - leaving each student a yearly tuition bill of less than $4,000. That's about what students attending the state-supported University of Utah paid last year in resident tuition and fees.

"There are students who do good things outside the classroom, such as helping to feed the hungry or working full time to help support their family." said Joe Bauman, Westminster's vice president of enrollment management. "Sometimes these students' grades aren't at the highest because of outside demands - or they simply don't test well."

Yet, according to Bauman, they are the students who bring a "special kind of vibrancy" to a classroom. Special consideration will be given to students who have overcome hardships, a disability, a difficult personal situation or other disadvantage. That also includes students from various socio-economic and racial backgrounds, he said.

Their achievements could be in athletics, community service, writing, chess, debate, theater - or any number of activities outside the normal academic setting, Bauman said.
sykes@sltrib.com