California State University, Long Beach’s (CSULB) President’s Scholars program will be undergoing changes and possibly ending its offer of a full-ride scholarship to high school valedictorians.
CSULB spokesman Mike Uhlenkamp said the program, which began in 1995 and offered 50 full-ride scholarships to incoming freshman who were valedictorians at their high school, will change given modern fiscal realities.
“Costs associated with education have increased several times since this program launched,” Uhlenkamp said. “We’re taking a look at it to make it sustainable.”
The first year’s class of 50 has since dwindled to full-rides being offered to 25 students each year, said Uhlenkamp. The number has decreased as the state made budget cuts that hit state universities, he said.
While the program has been successful in targeting ambitious students, the university is concerned that the program’s full-ride package including food, books, room and board (valued at around $70,000) is limited to the small cohort of 25 students.
“We hope to accommodate more people—we’re hoping to spread it around,” said Uhlenkamp.
Those who have already received the scholarship and are currently in school, including the class of President’s Scholars entering CSULB this year, will retain the full benefits promised to them. Uhlenkamp said the first year any potential changes would occur would be next year, with 2016's class of entering freshmen.
“We know there is value in the program,” said Uhlenkamp. He said potential changes would include diverting the funds differently among 50 scholars again. “We want to make sure students are still attracted to the program; it’s not going to be a radical change.”
Since the institution of the President’s Scholars program, the applications to attend CSULB have steadily increased. This year, CSULB received more applications than any other CSU, between 80,000 to 90,000 a year, according to Uhlenkamp.
Uhlenkamp said the university will continue with internal discussions aimed at making small changes to the program, with the impact of past President’s Scholars.