As I walked back to my room from the Student Center a few days ago, I could not help but to be a little excited, as I had just received some letters in the mail. As I sifted through the envelopes, there was one letter in particular that caught my attention and made me anxious. It was from Financial Aid. I nervously opened it, but hopeful that maybe this time it would be different. Unfortunately, I was disappointed yet again. As I read my revised financial aid package, it boldly stated, “No Net Change.”
I know the task of awarding financial aid is very difficult and complicated, but what I do not understand is how Quinnipiac can so easily and without hesitation, offer extensive, and even full athletic scholarships, yet the same is not true academically. I find it oddly ironic that a school, which is trying to gain accreditation for its academic standing, continually supports its athletes financially, and fails to recognize those students who excel academically. I feel that these students should be rewarded for their achievements and successes, because if I am not mistaken, it is academics that are the primary focus here at Quinnipiac.
Now, I know all of those advocates for athletic scholarships are going to tell me that athletes are assets to Quinnipiac because they generate revenue for the school. However, those maintaining a 4.0 GPA are assets too; assets that are significantly raising the standards at Quinnipiac University and giving the school a stronger reputation. To me, this looks like a mismanaged investment portfolio. I think the school should be investing its money in the assets that have the potential to yield the highest return, students who have achieved academically. I believe that if a student does well and becomes successful in a career, then he/she may want to give back to his/her alma mater, and will become a donating alumna. I think one would find money received in this fashion to be more meaningful and more beneficial to the school and its academic programs. In addition, a lifelong donator is a far better return on investment than revenue generated at an athletic event! And finally, it is just the principle of the matter. A university’s focus should be on academics, plain and simple, and there should be scholarships made available to students who exemplify this focus.
Nevertheless, please do not misinterpret my message. I am not pushing for the abolition of athletic scholarships. I recognize the talents of these students and I believe financial rewards should be made available to them. However, the same should apply for students who excel academically. If an athlete puts in hours of practice and can receive a scholarship for succeeding on the field or the court, then why can’t a student who puts in just as much time, if not more, in the library studying, receive a scholarship for succeeding in the classroom? This should be a two-way street, and unfortunately for the academically successful, it appears to be a dead end.
I do not know if Quinnipiac will ever change its policy on full or partial academic scholarships, but I think there should at least be an awareness of the mixed message that is being sent to the community of Quinnipiac students; study hard, maintain high GPAs, and demonstrate Quinnipiac’s mission of academic excellence, just do not expect to see that recognized financially.