Provost scholarship attracts out-of-state students

As part of a larger push to recruit exceptional undergraduate students, YSU has created the Provost Scholarship. The scholarship offers up to $4,000 to distinguished, out-of-state students fresh out of high school.

“Our interest was ‘how can we make YSU more of a destination, an attraction to highly qualified students from out-of-state?’ I think we do a good job for in-state, we have a significant amount of scholarships. … But what do we do to attract people from, let’s say, Michigan, Indiana, Kentucky, and so?” said Dr. Ikram Khawaja, provost and vice president for Academic Affairs who, along with his staff, is responsible for the Provost Scholarship’s invention.

The scholarship is meant to pay for a portion of the YSU out-of-state annual surcharge of $6,000 that is tacked on to some out-of-state student’s tuition.

The merit-based scholarship is being offered to students with a high school GPA of 3.0 and an ACT score of 22 or a math and verbal SAT score of 1030. The scholarship is only offered to students who have already applied and been accepted for one of YSU’s four Freshmen Scholarships for Excellence: the Red and White scholarship, the Deans’ scholarship, Trustees’ scholarship or President’s scholarship.

“These students, based on their admission application … will have already been awarded a Red & White, a Deans’, a President’s, or a Trustees’,” said Elaine Ruse, director of Financial Aid and Scholarship, who assisted Khawaja in the scholarships creation and implementation. “Then, they can apply to be considered for the Provost’s scholarship.”

James Stanger, associate director of technology and support in the YSU Office of Financial Aid, Indicated that the Provost Scholarship is exclusively merit-based, and anything outside of the transcript, such as extracurricular activities and internships, do not influence who receives the scholarship.

Even though marketing was limited for The Provost Scholarship, YSU was able to award qualifying freshmen students with $44,000 for the 2013-2014 school year.

“This year, the scholarship was offered to approximately 50 students. We had 11 students accept and 9 students actually matriculate,” said Ruse.

However, this is only the beginning of a larger marketing push for the scholarship. For the 2014-2015 recruitment cycle, YSU plans to reach out to junior and senior high school students in Chicago, Philadelphia, Buffalo, Rochester, N.Y. and areas throughout New Jersey. Along with on-location marketing, YSU’s marketing department will use social media to attract students in target areas.

The offices of the Provost, Academic Affairs, and Financial Aid and Scholarships are looking into ways to expand this initiative even further.

“I want to move this beyond, maybe not in the same amount because of the money, but I want to use this to attract, for example, international undergraduate students,” said Khawaja. “If you were to pick up the phone a year from now, you may have then discovered we have another imitative in the international field.”

YSU, in the past year, has experienced a drop off in out-of-state enrollment for students outside of regions that receive tuition assistance. In the Preliminary Fall Enrollment Summary for the Fall 2013 semester, the Office of Institutional Research and Policy Analysis reported that the number of these out-of-state students dropped from 578 part-time and full-time students in 2012 to 498 in 2013. The Provost Scholarship hopes to bolster these numbers within the next few years, as well as add a wealth of high-achieving and ambitious students to the YSU student body.