Regent’s Scholarship changes give schools financial flexibility for students

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LOGAN — The Utah State Board of Regents approved changes for the Regents’ Scholarship at its meeting Nov. 21 at Utah State University in Logan. The Regents’ Scholarship changes will take effect for the Class of 2019, current high school juniors.

The new Regents’ Scholarship rewards students whose academic achievements demonstrate a high likelihood of college success and provides additional support to students whose economic resources may prevent access to higher education.

“Making these changes allows us to continue to reward students who have worked hard in high school to get ready for college, while also giving institutions the flexibility to consider a student’s gap in their ability to afford college,” Dave Buhler, Commissioner of Higher Education said. “These changes will better serve our state by helping more students be prepared for and access higher education, in line with the strategic goals of the Board of Regents.”

Top three things to know about the changes

  • The Regents’ Scholarship awards academic achievement.
    The scholarship’s academic requirements essentially stay the same. Students choosing classes based on the old scholarship requirements are still on track to qualify for the new scholarship. Many administrative requirements are being simplified. Any changes are based on data and have been proven to lead to college success.
  • Every student who qualifies for the scholarship will receive an award.
    The scholarship award amount will be determined annually based on available funds and applicants. Awards will be coordinated through the student’s college to leverage all other financial aid opportunities and simplify the student’s experience.
  • The Regents’ Scholarship does not require applicants to qualify for federal loans or grants.
    Students are required to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. However, a student does not have to qualify for federal financial aid to receive the scholarship.

All students who complete the FAFSA, regardless of aid eligibility, receive an estimated family contribution, a necessary indicator colleges use to counsel students about their paying for college options.

Utah has the lowest rate of FAFSA completion in the nation, with students leaving over $36 million in free money for college on the table each year. In order to help increase the FAFSA completion rate — and to make students aware of other ways they can pay for college, the new Regents’ Scholarship requires that applicants complete the FAFSA. It does not require that a student qualify for federal financial aid.

Why make the changes?

About 90 percent of Regents’ Scholarship recipients receive other state-supported scholarships from their college, while other students have gaps in support that may prevent them from going to college. The new program ensures more efficient use of limited state tax funds as well as enables institutions to assist more students.

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