As of Feb., there are no longer academic requirements for the Trustee’s, Presidential, Provost’s Achievement and Merit scholarships. Instead of a student having an annual cumulative GPA requirement, Eastern students that make satisfactory academic progress will be given their scholarships for eight full semesters.
“We want Eastern to commit to its students for four years, the same way Eastern asks them to commit to us,” Director of Student Aid Lauren Pizzo said.
Confusion about the change began at the Academic Forum held last month, when a student asked a question about an apparent change on her degree audit. She believed that the degree audit said she needed to have a 2.0 GPA to maintain her scholarship.
However, the student misunderstood a part of the degree audit that has existed for a long time. The 2.0 GPA she saw refers to a requirement to graduate and is not related to any institutional scholarships. However, her question brought attention to the issue of scholarship requirements.
“The degree audit GPA requirement has not changed since 1996,” Vice President for Information and Technology Diana Bacci said, referring to the 2.0 GPA requirement to graduate.
Unfortunately, neither Pizzo nor Bacci were present at the Academic Forum, so they were unable to clear up the issue. For this reason, rumors about the issue circulated around campus.
The common misconception was that the GPA requirement for scholarships changed from a 3.0 to 2.0. Instead, all students that receive a Trustee’s, Provost’s, Achievement or Merit scholarship will continue to receive their scholarships as long as they maintain satisfactory student progress. Therefore, the scholarships no longer require students to maintain a specific GPA.
“If a student falls below the government’s standard for satisfactory academic progress, they automatically lose eligibility for all federal aid programs,” Pizzo said. “If they have fallen too far behind, it is better that they take a break from their studies to address their issues and retake classes they have failed.”
Satisfactory student progress for a student is a 2.0. This 2.0 is what the degree audit is referring to, when it says, “Required GPA.”
The change has created much controversy. It was designed to help students whose GPAs suffered due to personal loss, sickness, or unavoidable situations.
Other students, such as sophomore Nathan Riedy, see this change as a lowering of academic standards and a “disservice to students here,” he said.
Based on the previous system, students were given the ability to appeal their case if they did not meet the necessary GPA.
“I pushed for the change for the students that did not make the GPA and would drop out without appealing,” Pizzo said.
“I advocated for (the change),” Vice President of Student Development Bettie Ann Brigham said. “The word scholarship is misplaced. A lot of other things go into consideration when these scholarships are given.”
“It’s a little naive to think that everyone is capable of working hard just because they know it’s the right thing to do,” junior Chelsea Holden said. “That’s neglecting that we have a sinful human nature. Sometimes we just need a little accountability, and that’s not a bad thing.”
When various administrators were asked how this change affects students who have already lost their scholarships, none of them knew for sure.
The general consensus is that the change will not affect the past, but the final effects are not certain.
The GPA requirement change applies to most of Eastern’s scholarships, but not all. The change does not affect either the National Merit scholarship or Templeton Honors College Scholarship.
losing a scholarship?
Director of Student Aid Lauren Pizzo asks that all students whom this situation applies to email her at
firstname.lastname@example.org and try to appeal their situation.