Thursday, August 16, 2001

UK seeks to improve student recruitment

By Steve Bailey
The Associated Press

        LEXINGTON — The University of Kentucky on Tuesday announced a handful of initiatives designed to attract the state's best students, including the offer of a full scholarship to Kentucky Governor's Scholars and Governor's School for the Arts alumni.

        In addition to the scholarships, President Lee Todd unveiled an endowment program for graduate and professional students that will provide annual fellowships to incoming graduate, law, dentistry and medical students who have graduated from the state's 19 accredited independent colleges.

        “These initiatives are prime investments in Kentucky's future as we search for creative ways to keep the Commonwealth's best and brightest students in the state during their college careers,” Dr. Todd said in his first official news conference since taking office on July 1.

        Additionally, Dr. Todd announced that the school has established a payment plan that will allow students to pay a semester's tuition and some fees in installments beginning with the spring 2002 semester.

        “It took me about 30 seconds to make that decision,” Dr. Todd told an audience of about 150 at the UK Student Center. “The first time I heard we didn't have that, I told myself we needed to offer it. It's just the right thing to do for our students.”

        Student Government Association President Tim Robinson said he was thrilled with Dr. Todd's commitment to making life easier for students.

        “This will allow students and their families a lot more flexibility and enable them to better plan how they are going to pay for their education,” Mr. Robinson said.

        “Anything that allows students to pay as they go along during the year and not rely so heavily on loans will make it easier for individuals to continue their education.”

        The Governor's Scholar program was created in 1983 to motivate and empower the state's brightest high school students to become effective citizens and fu ture leaders.

        There are 1,000 Governor's Scholars and 200 Governor's School for the Arts students this year.

        About 100 alumni of the programs are now enrolled in Kentucky's 2001 freshman class.

        “We fully anticipate this new scholarship offer will double that number for the fall class of 2002,” said Philipp J. Kraemer, associate provost for undergraduate education.

        To receive full-tuition, four-year scholarships — valued at $15,000 at current UK tuition rates — Governor's Scholars must score a 28 or better on the American College Test and have a cumulative 3.3 grade-point average in high school.

        Full-tuition scholarships for Governor's School for the Arts participants will be awarded based upon other criteria reflecting exceptional creative and artistic talent.

        Other Governor's Scholars and Governor's School for the Arts graduates who do not qualify for full-tuition scholarships will be offered $1,500 annual scholarships for up to four years.

        Dr. Todd said the scholarship program will cost about $500,000 the first year and increase by another $500,000 each of the next three years.

        “This university has been committed to scholarships for a long time, but the focus was on National Merit finalists,” Dr. Todd said. “This new program is just a mat ter of volume and bringing more of the state's best students to UK. It's worth the risk to jump into this with both feet.”

        The endowment program is being established with a $300,000 pledge from the Cralle Foundation of Louisville, a family foundation that supports a variety of initiatives with an emphasis on private education.

        The Cralle pledge will be matched with Kentucky Research Challenge Trust funds, bringing the total endowment to $600,000 within the next few years, said Michael T. Nietzel, the school's acting provost.


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