JANUARY 16, 2008

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USAO releases new scholarships for high ACT students

Top high school seniors are the targets of a new partnership that will generate $400,000 in new scholarship funds at the University of Science and Arts over four years, beginning next fall. The USAO Foundation announced its new Foundation Scholars Awards program Nov. 26, the most aggressive and expansive scholarship program ever at USAO.

For incoming students with ACT scores of 27 or more, it could mean the closest thing to a full ride the distinctive school has to offer.

Dr. Michael Nealeigh, vice president for university advancement and executive director of the USAO Foundation, said the new Foundation Scholar Awards offer four-year tuition and fee coverage.

“These awards are in addition to the more than quarter of a million dollars in scholarships awarded through the Foundation each year,” Nealeigh said. “What makes them special is that they are renewable up to four years if the recipient maintains a 3.00 GPA and is otherwise eligible for full-time enrollment.”

Nealeigh said the nearly half a million dollars will provide scholarships that significantly exceed the cost of tuition and fees for an average full-time student and may be applied to other direct educational expenses. Students with ACT composite scores of 27 or higher and a high school GPA of 3.25 or better are eligible to apply for fall 2008 enrollment.

“USAO is raising its academic standards, so it’s only appropriate that we raise the standards of our incentives to attract Oklahoma’s best and brightest students,” Nealeigh said.

Depending on a student’s financial status and housing preferences, Nealeigh said students could receive a scholarship of $5,000 or more above the cost of tuition to cover room, board and associated fees and expenses each year.

“These unique scholarships are a great way for students to fill in the gaps left by other scholarships or financial aid,” said Nancy Moats, director of financial aid. “Many students receive financial assistance from a number of sources, but assistance does not always cover all the fees associated with tuition. The new Foundation Scholar Awards will help alleviate leftover tuition and costs for high-scoring ACT students.”

Dr. Sanders Huguenin, vice president for academic affairs, said the new scholarships are just one factor that makes USAO attractive to incoming students.

“You can go to one of those big research universities and be one of 3,000 freshmen or you can come to USAO and be one of 200,” Huguenin said. “With these new scholarships we expect that about a fifth of our 2008 freshmen class will be on full tuition and fee scholarships.”

Nealeigh said the scholarships will be given on a first-come, first-served, case-by-case basis for qualified students.

Additional information about the Foundation Scholar Award scholarships and applications is available by phone at (405) 574-1357. The University’s website is www.usao.edu.