AUBURN – Auburn University was named Scholarship Provider of the Year at the 2009 National Scholarship Providers Association Annual Conference in New Orleans for its Provost Leadership Undergraduate Scholar program.
The award was presented in recognition of the Office of Diversity and Multicultural Affairs’ PLUS program, which provides academic and social support to students pursuing their undergraduate studies at Auburn University. The PLUS program provides an $8,000 four-year, renewable scholarship at $2,000 per academic year, and has been developed to complement the goals of the Auburn University Strategic Diversity Plan.
“This award is a great honor and tribute to Auburn University,” said Associate Provost for Diversity and Multicultural Affairs Overtoun Jenda. “We are really excited for the PLUS students and dedicated staff who have made it possible for the PLUS program to receive nationwide recognition. We thank our corporate donors, alumni and friends, whose generosity and support have made the PLUS program possible and continue to have such great success.”
PLUS includes a retention program that provides peer mentoring, leadership opportunities and training, time management and study skills, tutoring and counseling services, and an opportunity for participants to enroll together in a series of classes throughout their freshman and sophomore years. The program has benefited 125 students since its inception in 2006. Of those students, 55 are first generation college students.
The Scholarship Provider of the Year award includes a $2,500 cash prize, recognition at the NSPA conference and on their Web site, a plaque and an invitation to present a session at next year’s conference.
Auburn University awarded more than $33 million in scholarships for the 2009-2010 academic year. Sixty-five percent of all freshmen who enrolled and 27 percent of all enrolled students received scholarships, compared to last year’s 56 percent and 23 percent, respectively. Overall scholarship amounts awarded by the university have increased by more than $18 million over the last four years.
“We are especially grateful to the Auburn University Board of Trustees for establishing two key scholarship programs effective for the 2007-2008 academic year,” said Director of University Scholarships Velda Rooker. “Both the Spirit of Auburn Scholarship for Alabama residents and the Academic Scholarship for non-residents directly contributed to the significant increase in scholarships awarded. We received another boost this past year when we began offering an on-campus housing allowance for four years to National Merit Finalists, National Achievement Finalists, and National Hispanic Scholars.”
Auburn University achieved its highest enrollment in history this fall, and its freshman class boasted the top ACT score of any previous class. Enrollment is 24,602 among all students groups – undergraduates, graduate students and those enrolled in professional schools – which is up from 24,530 in fall 2008. New freshman enrollment consists of 3,918 students, who compiled an average score of 26.2 on the ACT college entrance exam, outpacing last year’s then-record of 25.9.
(Contributed by Carol Nelson.)