New scholarship supports 700

Jill Fier

Jill Fier

Over 700 SDSU students this year were awarded the Jackrabbit Guarantee.

This new scholarship is a commitment to award incoming freshmen with an ACT score of 24 or higher with at least $1,000 in scholarships every year, Director of Admissions Tracy Welsh said.

The scholarship funding presents a potential need for $700,000 every year for this class of scholars.This money will come from the efforts of the SDSU Foundation.

The money that the foundation needs to raise each year will vary with the number of guarantee recipients. Jackrabbit Guarantee Chairman Bob Miller said he is confident it can be done.

“We’re okay the first year. Now we’re going on to the second year and we think we need to raise about $1.5 million,” he said.

“For the next three or four years, we are going to be campaigning very strongly with alumni and friends. We have a lot of fundraising to do yet for it,” Miller added.

Welsh said the program did not use one dollar of the university’s budget.

“It’s all through private donations to the university. There are SDSU Alumni and Friends who have given specifically for this scholarship program.”

Miller said the university came to the SDSU Foundation about a year and a half ago and asked for help to improve enrollment at SDSU. “Virtually all private support for the university comes through the Foundation,” Miller said.

Though the final enrollment numbers will not be released from the Board of Regents until October, Executive Vice President of Administration Michael Reger said the program is attracting new and academically stronger students, and it keeps the university very competitive.

“We may well end up with the biggest freshman class we ever had,” he said.

The goal of the program was to target students who got a score between 24 and 27 on their ACT, Reger said.

In that range, students are most often offered scholarships for their first year only, but do not see much scholarship money after that.

“We’re trying to get financial support to a group of students who typically didn’t get a lot of support. We know they’re strong students to begin with, and they will do very well after graduation,” Reger said.

In order to renew the scholarship every year, students have to maintain a 2.5 cumulative GPA and must register for at least 30 credit hours per academic year.

The scholarships can be renewed for up to four years.

Freshman Garret Clasen, a recipient of the Jackrabbit Guarantee, said he feels the program has a lot to offer to students trying to decide on a college to attend after high school.

“My counselor informed me of the program and encouraged me to apply. I had already decided to come to SDSU, but it will definitely play a big part in whether or not I stay for more that a year or two,” he said.

Clasen said the only downside to the program was being able to qualify academically. But entering school before the scholarship was offered frustrates some.

“My sister was upset because the scholarship took affect the year after she started school.”