Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Letter to the Editor: Marquette’s Discriminatory Scholarships

Via e-mail, a response to our post on Marquette’s “women only” and “minority only” scholarships:
I can’t disagree with your recent post regarding the questionability of the scholarship programs you referenced. I do have to differ, however, with the identification of white males as exclusively discriminated against.

An often-missed scholarship program among those offered at Marquette is the Jesuit High School Scholarship Program, offering a half-tuition award to a student from each of the 48 Jesuit high schools in the US. This sounds fair enough until you consider that the Jesuit Secondary Education Association identifies only 15 of its member schools as co-ed. In other words, Marquette annually offers 33 half tuition, renewable scholarships exclusively to males. They’re no small scholarships, as their value increases along with the tuition increases students typically see over the course of four years. But besides that, there isn’t much of an advantage for Marquette in offering such a large scholarship to such a small pool of applicants, especially when it is left up to the high school to choose the recipient.

In my opinion, this is only the beginning of the problems within Marquette’s scholarship programs. Consider the elimination of the Raynor Scholarship (the only completely merit-based full tuition award) and the subsequent introduction of the Urban Scholars Program. These two events are unrelated, yet indicate a change in focus in scholarship awarding that is not good. In principal, the idea of attracting diversity through a program such as the Urban Scholars is good, but it ignores many different kinds of diversity (as we have seen is common at Marquette) and once again draws from a relatively small pool of applicants (as opposed to the Raynor or Burke). Most unbelievably (and in my opinion, an insult to the recipients), the requirement for maintaining this new scholarship is a 2.0 gpa!! If my understanding is correct, this is the standard requirement for graduating, and a student with below a 2.5 can’t even graduate if their major is in Education or Accounting. Does Marquette want these students to be educated, or does it want their faces popping up around campus?

Regardless of legality, the bottom line is that there are some definite glitches to be worked out in the scholarship system. Scholarships should be used as a tool to reward good students, but more importantly to attract them to this university. Marquette seems to be taking steps in the wrong direction.

-Katie Wycklendt

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