In an effort to make an Oklahoma Baptist University education more affordable, the university has increased its academic scholarship award amounts for new students beginning 2005-06.
The dollar amounts, which had stayed the same for nearly a decade, increased and have become more clear.
Students with a high school grade point average of 3.75, combined with an ACT score of 32-36 or an SAT of 1450-1600, are eligible for a full tuition scholarship, which can be renewed each semester if the student maintains a 3.5 grade point average at OBU. Students must compete for those 10 full-tuition scholarships through an essay, resume and interviews. There are another 10 scholarships for $6000 each available for students with the same test and GPA qualifications who are not selected for the full-tuition scholarships. Those 10 also involve competition. The scholarship can be renewed for $6000 if the student maintains a 3.25 OBU GPA.
The remainder of the scholarship levels, ranging in amounts from $1500 to $5000, are available to all students who meet the corresponding test and GPA standards. The availability of the scholarships begins with a 3.0 high school grade points average with an ACT score of 23 or an SAT score of 1060-1080. That scholarship is $1500.
"These increases really give us an opportunity to compete with our sister schools," said Scott Douglas, OBU director of admissions. "It also shows our commitment to students. Students with a 24 to 28 ACT are generally the students we attract, but they could get a higher dollar amount at other schools."
While OBU's awards are not the largest among private schools, the university comes from a starting point of being one of the more moderately-priced private universities with a reputation for academic excellence.
OBU was rated 10th in the West in the "Great Schools, great prices" category this fall by U.S. News and World Report. No other Oklahoma school - at any level - received a "best value" ranking.
"We researched other schools and made some other calculations and what we are offering now makes us more competitive," said Trent Argo, dean of enrollment management at OBU.
OBU's new academic scholarships are not the full extent of the university's effort to make a private Christian education more affordable.
"This is just the start," Argo said. "We began with these academic scholarships because they have the biggest effect on our students. The next thing we are going to focus on is our church-related scholarships, which I don't think have changed in dollar amount or in requirements since 1983."