Freshmen from Rhode Island spark increase in standard for URI scholarship program

aimed at top students KINGSTON, R.I. — October 9, 1998 — Rhode Islanders enrolled in this year’s University of Rhode Island freshman class are so academically strong that the University has raised a requirement for scholarships earmarked for the academically talented. This year, the overall Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) score for the entire in-state freshman class is 1102, two points higher than the minimum score needed for a Centennial Scholarship. Now in its fifth year, the program is designed to attract the best and brightest students from Rhode Island and around the region to URI. As a result of the overall increase in SAT scores, including those of the students receiving the Centennial Scholarships, the University has increased its minimum SAT to 1120 for receipt of a scholarship in next year’s freshman class. Engineering and pharmacy applicants must meet a standard of 1150, a mark that has been in place for two years. When the program began in 1993 as a pilot effort with $557,000 in funding, it was designed to enhance the learning culture at URI by attracting committed, focused students with strong standardized tests scores and outstanding high school records. When it began no other land-grant institution in New England had such a program. Now the program has a budget of $5 million, and Centennial Scholars can be found in every class year. A total of 532 freshmen enrolled in the Centennial program this year. One of the goals of the program was to boost URI’s overall Scholastic Aptitude Test Score to 1100 by 1998. “I am very happy with the program, because we are bringing in students who enhance the University,” said David G. Taggart, dean of admissions and student financial aid. “They are proactive and aggressive. They not only have a major impact on the academic community, they affect many areas of the University community with their drive and their energy.” He added that the students are becoming the best promoters of the program and the University as a center of academic excellence. “They are generating interest in the students who will be next year’s class,” he said. Other highlights from the program: · From its inception, the program has offered scholarships that range from $1,000 to full tuition for each of the student’s four years, providing the student maintains a minimum 3.0 grade point average and maintains continuous full-time enrollment to retain their scholarships over four years. ·URI now is attracting students from the top 28 percent of Rhode Island’s high school senior classes. The overall SAT score for this year’s freshman class is 10 points higher than last year’s. ·The number of scholarship offers to Rhode Island students has increased from 322 in 1994 to 532 in 1998 — an increase of 210 offers. · In its first two years, the Centennial Scholarship program was responsible for a 24-point increase in the overall SAT score for incoming freshman. · From 1991 to 1996, the number of freshmen named to the Dean’s List increased from 190 to 379, an increase of 99 percent. University officials point to Centennial Scholarships as the primary reason. · In 1998 and 1997, the Centennial Scholarship program prompted 66 high school valedictorians to apply to URI over the two-year period. · In March of 1995, URI inducted 197 freshmen into Phi Eta Sigma National Honor Society, the greatest number of initiates in the history of URI. Of that total, 165 were Centennial Scholarship winners. In 1997, 177 freshmen were inducted into the society. -xxx- For Further Information: Dave Lavallee 401-874-2116