College adjusts value of some merit scholarships
By Benjamin Pontz, News Editor
Gettysburg College announced some modifications in the value of merit scholarships beginning with the incoming Class of 2021 late last week. While the Abraham Lincoln Scholarship — the college’s top merit scholarship — will remain at $25,000 per year, the Presidential Scholarship increased from $15,000 to $20,000 annually, the David Wills Scholarship increased from $10,000 to $15,000 annually, and the 1832 Founders Scholarship increased from $7,000 to $10,000 annually. For students currently enrolled at Gettysburg (before the Class of 2021), the value of any merit scholarship currently possessed will not change; the adjusted values apply only to new students from the Class of 2021 onward.
The value of merit scholarships was last adjusted in 2014. Two weeks ago, during a town hall with The Gettysburgian, President Janet Morgan Riggs said that the college’s primary focus with respect to scholarships is on increasing access to need-based aid. The college recently announced that the 2017-18 comprehensive fee is $65,210, a 3.5% spike from the 2016-17 academic year.
Christina Gormley, director of financial aid, said that “marketplace demands” drove the college to make the adjustments to these merit scholarships’ values.
“We felt that the marketplace demands warranted an increase to a few of the scholarships levels this year to assure we continue to attract the very best students and that we remain competitive with our peers,” she said in a written statement. “As a result of that review we did not believe that there needed to be an increase to the Lincoln Scholarship.”
She also emphasized that merit scholarship values do not change for students already enrolled.
“When students enroll and accept an academic scholarship at Gettysburg they accept several conditions,” she explained. “To maintain an academic scholarship, enrolled students must achieve a required cumulative GPA at the end of each academic year and academic scholarships are available for up to eight semesters. In addition once enrolled at Gettysburg, students do not receive consideration for academic scholarships and scholarship values are not changed.”
Alexa Secrest ’20, who holds a Presidential scholarship, finds it unfair that merit scholarship values do not increase for those presently enrolled since they are responsible for tuition increases.
“Like most other merit aid recipients, I am not thrilled that the scholarship increase does not apply to current students. Since the overall increase in tuition will affect us, it seems reasonable to expect that the increase in merit scholarships would too,” she explained. “If giving current students more aid is not feasible, a statement from the administration notifying us of the change and explaining this would have been appreciated.”