It has been almost a month since William Jewell College students were first notified about the 45 percent discount to tuition that will be implemented starting in the fall 2021 semester. The initial panic caused by the announcement has since ceased, but some students still hold concerns over their hard-earned scholarships being reduced as a result of the tuition drop.
“We are eliminating that perception barrier by making our published tuition more in line with the true cost of attendance that our students experience now. In turn, this will keep more prospective students considering Jewell longer and give us a chance to show more families all Jewell has to offer,” said Eric Blair, vice president of enrollment and marketing.
The dramatic cut to tuition means that the scholarships are also being reduced dramatically in proportion to the new cost structure. The allocation of aid dollars between the academic, athletic and need scholarships does not significantly change percentage-wise, but how the awards are managed within each category will be shifting. The most notable change is the size of individual awards, and for some awards the qualifying criteria may have changed slightly as well.
The criteria for academic scholarships that must be met and maintained to qualify for financial aid have not changed substantially but have been posted on the Jewell website as follows.
Incoming first-year students must have a minimum 3.3 cumulative high school GPA and either a minimum 24 ACT or 1170 SAT score in order to qualify for academic scholarships. These rewards are renewable for four years with the maintenance of a minimum 2.5 cumulative GPA. For incoming transfer students, a 3.3 cumulative GPA is needed to qualify for aid and is renewable for two years as long as a minimum 2.5 cumulative GPA is maintained. Higher amounts of initial aid are awarded as GPA and test scores increase.
The athletic scholarships are another aspect of the new financial structure that will be experiencing change, mainly concerning how the aid is awarded within the individual athletic programs. The athletic programs will have more flexibility in this new system as to how they will award scholarships within their budget. Coaches will also have the ability to adjust the awards for players that are considered more significant contributors to the team.
The major changes for the rest of the scholarships that the school offers are based on dollar amount. Talent scholarships offered for cheer, dance, debate, athletic band, vocal and instrumental music, and theatre performance and design/tech now range in amount from $500 to $3,000 per year. The need-based scholarships have also been reduced in size, but Blair reassures that a priority towards these awards such as the Shape the Future grant and the Housing Impact award will be maintained under this new system.
One program that has experienced significant change in financial aid is the Oxbridge Honors Program. Previously, students accepted into the program all received $26,000 per year. During the junior year, that amount was given as a Journey Grant for study abroad. In the new scholarship structure, instead of all the students receiving the same Oxbridge scholarship, there are now three types of scholarships. These include $9,250 a year to eleven students per class, 100 percent of tuition given to two students per year and 100 percent tuition as well as room and board given to two students per year. The main concern for the Oxbridge students is the aid they were promised for the junior year abroad, but it has been reassured that they will still receive proportional aid with a significantly increased dollar amount during that year.
To engage further transparency in the affordability of Jewell, the amounts of various awards not previously disclosed prior to acceptance will be published on the website. This will allow prospective students to get a better idea of the aid they are eligible to receive and hopefully prompt application to Jewell.
As well as making Jewell seem more affordable and achievable for prospective students, the College reassures that they are making a commitment to keep the total out-of-pocket cost at a relatively similar place for current students, most students will even be paying $300 to $500 less next year.
“We are committed to ensuring students pay no more net tuition and fees than they were prior to the change in the published price with the goal of giving some dollars back to as many students as possible,” said Blair.
In-depth information on the scholarships beginning in the fall 2021 semester is available here, and students who have questions about the effect of the tuition reduction on their financial aid package can schedule a virtual meeting with the office of financial aid here.