Institutional scholarships to undergo financial cuts

The Laramie County Community College interim vice president of student services said planned cuts to institutional scholarships for the academic year of fall 2012–spring 2013 will not be permanent.

In the fall 2012 semester, all institutional scholarships such as activities scholarships will receive a 25 percent cut.

"What we're doing for next year is not indicative of a long-term stance," LCCC's Interim Vice President Dr. Grant Wilson said.

Wilson said the college was in "crisis mode" and did not have enough time to gather input regarding the issue.

Decision made under pressure

"For next year, we just kind of set the policy because we needed to make a decision quickly because last September and October we were starting to recruit already for the fall of 2012," Wilson said. "So we just kind of had to make a decision so that we had a framework in which people could operate."

Wilson said the college also formed a temporary committee to work on scholarship policies. He said the committees will focus on how the college wants to use scholarship money to achieve long-term institutional goals.

He said the college must limit the institutional scholarships to $2 million for the next academic year, and the college decided to honor all scholarships offered to students last year. This committed $745,000 in institutional scholarship money.

"Obviously, there's a third of our institutional scholarship budget right there," he said. Wilson said as much money wasn't available for new scholarships because of the money already committed. "How that translates to individual students will be kind of up to the program director," Wilson said.

Wilson said some groups on campus had concerns about institutional support for campus activities.

"We do support all those activities. Because without those activities, shut down the residence halls; this is just going to be a commuter college," Wilson said. "The things that keep students hanging around are the activities, so we do support those."

Cutting excess money

Wilson said athletic scholarships will also change next year because athletics will be unable to tap into several scholarship sources. He said because of the large number of international students involved in athletics, the athletics department was able to use scholarship money from both the athletics and international scholarship budgets.

"So athletics has been able to tap into a whole bunch of different scholarship pools, and so in the future, that's not going to be allowed," Wilson said. "All of the athletics scholarships are going to have to come out of the athletics scholarship budget."

The Golden Eagle scholarships some students have been receiving have been overgenerous, and the college could have been more selective regarding who received those scholarships, Wilson said. He said students could basically get a tuition waiver by maintaining a 2.0 or higher grade-point average, and the college could have been more selective.

"Now we've got this big egg going through a snake," Wilson said. "So, we've got to hold the line; we've got to, in effect, cut scholarships, but until that egg gets through the snake, we don't have a whole lot of flexibility."

Wilson said the cuts will affect only institutional scholarships. He said Pell grants, Hathaway or any private scholarships will not be affected.

Despite these cuts, Wilson said LCCC President Dr. Joe Schaffer wanted to change scholarship policies to enable students to pay student fees with institutional scholarships.

LCCC Financial aid website