Scholarships will benefit freshmen

By Editorial Board

At the latest College Council meeting on Feb. 5, Columbia President Warrick L. Carter announced the college is planning to increase scholarship funding by 100 percent for fall 2010, including a major addition in scholarships for incoming freshmen students.

An increase in scholarships for students is always beneficial, especially in this difficult economic climate. It is a smart move for the college to concentrate on helping freshmen fund their education. They are the future of this institution. Some incoming students decide on where to attend college based on how much financial aid they are awarded. Increasing scholarship funding for them may increase the overall number of new freshmen that choose to attend Columbia. Many students drop out or transfer to a different school between their first and second semesters, and offering scholarships to freshmen may motivate them to stay at the college longer, thereby increasing retention rates.

When deciding which freshmen to award the scholarships to, the college should take measures to ensure the money is used in the best possible way. Academic performance, as well as financial need, should be taken into consideration when deciding which students are awarded the money. Students with solid high school GPAs would likely be safer investments than those with poor performance records.

In order to provide funding for these scholarships, Columbia will likely increase tuition by a small percentage. Although this is unpleasant to hear, the increase would directly benefit students. Using the money to fund scholarships is much better than alloting it somewhere students will never see.

The college may also cut jobs of staff members to cover the cost. The college should use extreme discretion in choosing who to let go and try to avoid cuts that would affect students’ curriculum. Columbia is currently in a salary freeze, so another way to contribute to the scholarship fund could be to skim some money off of future salary increases or bonuses of higher-up levels of the administration.

New scholarships benefit students, especially freshmen, and the college should be sure to fund them appropriately and responsibly.