College tuition is on the rise, but so are major scholarships. To strengthen its recruitment tools, the University of Mississippi has created the Chancellor's Scholars Program to expand substantial scholarships for academically talented students.
The new umbrella of premier scholarships was established with the confirmation that Ole Miss has been selected as a partner with the Atlanta-based Stamps Foundation, which provides matching funds for elite scholarships complete with generous enrichment activity funding. Private gifts of all sizes will be sought to support the Chancellor's Scholars Program.
Nationally prominent academic programs have been built over the years at Ole Miss, due in part to the generous resources being invested by alumni and friends, who are now encouraged to support these scholarships, UM Provost Morris Stocks said.
"Bringing the best and the brightest to our campus strengthens our overall academic environment and, long range, it strengthens our state and region," the chief academic officer said. "Coupled with our high-quality academic programs, the ability to offer more competitive awards enhances our ability to recruit these top students.
"The Stamps Leadership Scholarships become our top honor to bestow upon entering freshmen, and this partnership has inspired us to begin building funds for many more elite scholarship awards. We are particularly pleased that our Stamps Scholars will have funds to pursue enrichment activities that will literally multiply students' educational experiences. We also look forward to offering some Stamps Scholarships to out-of-state students because these students often come to our university, become quite attached to the area and decide to pursue careers in Mississippi."
The Chancellor's Scholars Endowment will be established to support the Stamps Scholars program and additional Chancellor's Scholarships.
"The establishment of the Chancellor's Scholars Endowment gives Ole Miss alumni and friends the opportunity to be a part of growing our most elite scholarship offerings at whatever level they are able to give," said Carol Anne Miconi , the university's director of corporate and foundation relations. "This is a program that will positively impact the university and the state by both helping keep Mississippi's top students in the state and attracting high-performing students from across the country to experience, and come to love, Ole Miss. We hope the Ole Miss family will take ownership of this program's growth and enable the support of increasing numbers of exceptional students."
Those individuals or organizations committing $500,000 or more to the program will be designated as Chancellor's Circle donors, who will have the opportunity to interact with Chancellor's Scholars annually and whose names will be prominently recognized on a Chancellor's Scholars plaque displayed in the Lyceum.
To be considered for the top scholarships, applicants generally must possess a minimum 32 ACT and 3.5 grade-point average. However, academic deans may nominate outstanding students who do not meet this criteria but may have high test scores and GPAs and be truly exceptional in regard to leadership, service or other areas.
Existing university-wide awards that will be included among the Chancellor's Scholarships are the Robert M. Carrier, W.R. Newman and Sally Vick Hill scholarships, named for UM alumni. These have traditionally been reserved for top incoming students from Mississippi and include support of $40,000 over the four-year period. Due to their academic credentials, the scholars often automatically receive other financial support from UM, so their full cost of attendance is covered in most instances.
There are no requirements for specific majors or campus involvement for Stamps, Carrier and Newman Scholars, though most are likely to be very active on campus. With the Carrier, Newman and Hill Scholars, a majority of them are enrolled in the Honors College, some have been involved in Croft Institute, and more recently, many have participated in the Lott Leadership Institute.
Leadership and service are essential criteria for scholar selection, making the Lott Institute and Honors College programs natural complements.
"We want academically deserving young people to benefit from our unique academic environment that is both rigorous and nurturing," Stocks said. "The University of Mississippi continues to dedicate tremendous energy toward ensuring access to higher education. We have also developed a number of scholarship programs in recent years that address financial need, such as Ole Miss Opportunity, Luckyday Scholarships and others."
Individuals or organizations interested in contributing to the Chancellor's Scholars Programs may send a check with the fund noted to the University of Mississippi Foundation, 406 University Avenue, Oxford, MS 38655; contact Carol Anne Miconi at 662-915-1758 or firstname.lastname@example.org; or visit http://www.umfoundation.com/makeagift.