Western Kentucky University has announced that it will no longer be awarding academic merit-based scholarships to incoming freshmen based on ACT scores. Starting in Fall 2020, WKU will instead be granting scholarships based on a student’s unweighted GPA.
“WKU believes that scholarship decisions should be made based on a student’s academic performance across high school, not just how the student performed on a test taken on a single day,” said Morgan Gossett, an admissions counselor at WKU.
“This will enable more students to attend WKU without the stress of figuring out how to pay for it, and we also hope it will lead to an increase in retention as fewer students leave before finishing a degree due to financial concerns,”
On top of this, WKU is also lowering the GPA required to qualify for these scholarships from a 3.3 to a 3.0. The minimum scholarship will also be increased from $1,500 to $2,500. This means that any student who receives an Academic Merit Award will receive at least $10,000 in financial aid over a four-year period.
“Students who score below 28 will have more scholarship money at WKU and that is always beneficial to them. Students will need to work hard in college to keep their college GPA high enough to continue to receive the scholarship annually,” said Letitia Hughes, BCHS Magnet principal and guidance counselor.
Barren County High School seniors interested in attending WKU were asked about their opinions on this change.
“Not everyone tests well, so I feel like your GPA shows who you are more than your ACT does,” said Kayleigh Byrd.
“I think it shows if you’re a better student based on your GPA compared to just one test,” said Dillon Short.
However, some other seniors had different thoughts.
“Some people take easier classes throughout all of high school, so it’s easier for them to have a 4.0, but others who take harder classes and college classes may have lower GPAs because they’re taking harder classes,” said Chloe Watson.
The Cornelius A. Martin Scholarship will also be available to provide other scholarship opportunities for minority students, and WKU declared it will make an additional $5.2 million in scholarship funding available through the changes.
More information about the scholarships can be found on WKU’s website.