Academic Scholars Program to admit fewer National Merit Scholars
OU will be admitting 5-to-10-percent fewer National Merit Scholars than it did in the previous academic year due to recent budget cuts.
This decision was reached after the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education approved a measure to admit 5-percent fewer out-of-state National Merit Scholars by the year 2013, according to the regents’ agenda.
“While we do not yet have a final number of enrolled National Merit Scholars for fall 2011, we will enroll slightly fewer than last year’s record-high of 225,” said LeeAnn Victery, National Scholars Program director.
It is typical for the number of enrolled National Merit Scholars to vary slightly from year to year, Victery said.
In previous years, the Academic Scholars Program, which awards scholarships to National Merit Scholars, awards 25 percent of merit scholarships to out-of-state students, according to the agenda. If the Academic Scholars Program continues to award scholarships at the rate of 25 percent, the fund will have a deficit of more than $500,000 by fiscal year 2013. By cutting the number of nonresident students admitted to 20 percent, the Academic Scholars Program will save more than $500,000, according to the agenda.
Kynsey Lira, a criminology senior and a National Merit Scholar, said in an email she believes OU’s decision to limit the number of National Merit Scholars is a poor one.
“I feel that by admitting fewer National Merit Scholars to OU, the university is turning away a number of students who could bring a lot to the university, both in terms of academic success and involvement in student life,” Lira said.
Patrick O’Keefe, a psychology junior and a National Merit Scholar, said in an email he does not think the change will make a major difference to OU.
“I think admitting fewer National Merit Scholars to the university won’t actually impact the university all that much, as long as we continue to admit enough National Merit Scholars to remain among the top ten public universities in terms of the number of National Merit Scholars,” O’Keefe said.
Last fall, for the first time in university history, OU became the number one public school in the nation for the number of National Merit Scholars in its freshman class, Victery said. Though Victery said she doesn’t know if this decrease will impact OU’s rank, but said the National Merit Scholarship Corporation will issue rankings in terms of number of National Merit Scholars for colleges in January.