AUBURN – Auburn University has seen a 25 percent increase in funding for student scholarships this academic year to a record $18.5 million.
Auburn students saw an increase in funding for both need-based and merit-based scholarships. Spirit of Auburn scholarships, a new program of financial assistance for students with outstanding academic records, led the way, with more than $2.5 million in scholarships in its first year.
Enrollment officials predict continued growth in scholarships, with funding for Spirit of Auburn scholarships expected to double in the next academic year, which starts in August.
The record increase in scholarship funds was achieved in the aftermath of a 2006 commitment by the AU Board of Trustees to significantly increase scholarship aid to Auburn students. That pledge came in a year in which Auburn was awarding a then-record amount of $14.8 million in scholarships.
“The Board of Trustees has committed to significant scholarship growth, and we’re now seeing the results of that commitment with a record number of scholarships awarded,” said Wayne Alderman, dean of enrollment services. “Deserving and talented students have earned these, and we’ll continue to increase our numbers and these opportunities as we move forward on improving scholarship opportunities.”
Almost two-thirds of the $18 million in scholarship funding this academic year was in university awards, which are open to students in any major. Another $5 million went to students through departmental scholarships in their AU colleges and schools, and $1.6 million was in the form of academic scholarship waivers.
More than 4,300 students received 7,400 institutional scholarships, with many recipients awarded more than one scholarship. Departmental awards went to more than 2,400 recipients, and academic scholarship waivers of partial out-of-state tuition went to 310 high-achieving non-resident students.
For the current year, AU enrolled 617 Spirit of Auburn Scholars. Within that number are 82 Presidential Scholars, who receive tuition for four years plus additional benefits. Another 272 students are Founders Scholars, who are awarded tuition for four years, and 263 are University Scholars, who qualify for $1,500 per year for four years.
Alderman said the Spirit of Auburn scholarship program for top scholars got off to a fast start in its first year and is expanding rapidly. AU has already offered nearly 1,500 of the highly coveted scholarships totaling more than $6 million for the 2008-09 academic year, which starts in August. Some scholarships of various types are still available and will be offered this spring.