Confusion surrounds Jackrabbit Guarantee

Hannah Baker

Hannah BakerNews Editor

When enrolling into SDSU, freshmen have a few things that are guaranteed: the dorm life experience, educated professors and hours spent doing homework. One other thing they are guaranteed if they scored at least a 24 on their ACT is a $1,000 scholarship via the Jackrabbit Guarantee program.

The SDSU Foundation provides nearly $4.5 million in scholarships from private donors each year, including funds for the Jackrabbit Guarantee.

Currently there are approximately 2,800 students receiving the Jackrabbit Guarantee in the 2010-2011 academic year, and the number of freshmen who receive it increases every year.

“When the scholarship program was launched in 2002, it was estimated that about 500 incoming freshmen would qualify for the Jackrabbit Guarantee. Last year, nearly 1,000 incoming freshmen qualified,” said Steve Erpenbach, president CEO of the SDSU Foundation.

Erpenbach said the Jackrabbit Guarantee was implemented to attract graduating high school seniors to SDSU.

“The Jackrabbit Guarantee was started in 2002 to help SDSU recruit students that were going to other universities 8212; oftentimes in other states 8212; because they were getting better scholarship offers,” Erpenbach said. “SDSU’s enrollment has increased every year since the program started, so it has been wildly successful”

However, students have a few guidelines they must abide by in order to keep the Jackrabbit Guarantee. A student must have a 2.8 GPA or higher during their freshman year to keep the scholarship as a sophomore.

The GPA requirement then jumps to a 3.0 or higher in their sophomore and junior years to receive the scholarship as a junior and senior.

This GPA is higher than it has been in the past and Erpenbach said this is to meet the higher standards that SDSU sets for its students.

“Previously, students were required to maintain a GPA of 2.5 in order to remain eligible for the scholarship,” Erpenbach said. “As the signature scholarship program at SDSU, it was believed that students should be expected to meet those slightly higher GPAs.”

With the rising number of incoming freshmen and the rising ACT averages; the SDSU Foundation can find it a struggle at times to have the necessary funds to meet the demand.

“The Foundation is constantly trying to raise more money to keep pace with the popularity of the Jackrabbit Guarantee,” Erpenbach said. “The Foundation’s challenge is continuing to find new donors to allow SDSU to increase its scholarship offerings. Fortunately, we have generous alumni and friends who understand the importance of scholarships.”

The Jackrabbit Guarantee, unlike other school affiliated or nonaffiliated scholarships, has the ability to be cancelled out. For example, if a student receives a scholarship for $500 from SDSU, their Jackrabbit Guarantee would only be $500 to equal the guaranteed $1,000.

However, if a student receives a scholarship outside of SDSU for $500 (for example from a local service club) they would still qualify for the full $1,000 guaranteed amount because the funds are coming from somewhere other than the university, and receive a total of $1,500.

Many students find the whole process a little confusing.

“I think [the Jackrabbit Guarantee] is incredibly misleading,” said Dan Schmidt, junior advertising major. “It was never explained that my journalism scholarship was a part of the Jackrabbit Guarantee and I spent the entire summer thinking I had an extra $1,000 than I actually had. When it came time to pay for school I was upset when I saw that $1,000 was not there and had to seek out an answer why.”

Tamora Rosenbaum, a junior double majoring in English and German, said the process would be smoother if communication about the Jackrabbit Guarantee was more available and specific.

“I think it would help with all the confusion if SDSU explained the Jackrabbit Guarantee a little more 8212; like at freshman orientation or along with the acceptance letter and such 8212; because before, I thought that the Jackrabbit Guarantee was a whole separate thing,” Rosenbaum said.

Erpenbach said the SDSU Foundation, which works with the division of Student Affairs, would welcome changes in communication to make sure students understand the process of the Jackrabbit Guarantee.

“We will look for ways to communicate with students as to the benefits of the program in terms of what they will get,” Erpenbach said. “It’s been so successful and we want students to know how it works.”

#1.1717771:337791097.png:Study-Dude-File.png:Students must study even harder now that the GPA requirements of the Jackrabbit Guarantee program have been raised.:Collegian Photo by Aaron Stoneberger