Western Kentucky University announces changes to scholarship requirements

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. – Western Kentucky is increasing the affordability of higher education by making a number of major changes to the requirements scholarship recipients must meet.

“It’s an exciting morning for Western Kentucky University as we announce a transformation in our scholarship programs,” said WKU President Timothy C. Caboni.

Beginning in fall 2020, WKU will no longer use ACT scores to determine scholarship qualifications for high school applicants.

“Instead of just a testing day being the most important day in their high school career, it now becomes a focus on all four years,” added Caboni. “Growing and performing and having multiple chances.”

In the past, students needed a minimum of an ACT score of 25 and a 3.3 GPA to be eligible for academic merit awards.

With this new format, ACT scores won’t factor in and students with a GPA of 3.0 or higher will now be eligible to receive a $2,500 scholarship, a $1,000 increase from the current minimum award.

“Anyone with a 3.0 in high school, you’re now eligible for a WKU scholarship,” said Caboni.

The expansion in scholarship funding comes from the university making an additional $5.2 million available with money from the school’s Opportunity Fund and private support.

“It’s gonna reduce the cost that our area students have to pay for a WKU experience,” said Caboni. “Number two, it’s going to essentially double the number of undergraduate students who are eligible for aid.”

The scholarships, which are for the entire academic year, will be available to all undergraduate students – in-state, out-of-state and international.

There won’t be a cap on the number of students that receive these academic merit awards, too.

“If we get 20,000 students who apply and have a 3.0, all 20,000 of them will get a scholarship,” Caboni added. “Period. It doesn’t matter. We want to open the floodgates and provide as much opportunity as we possibly can.”

The university expects that, with these changes in requirements, 80% of incoming freshmen will be eligible for some type of institutional scholarship next year.

WKU is also expanding its scholarship funding for minority students.

Currently, the Cornelius A. Martin Scholarship awards $2,500 to minority students who posted a 3.0 GPA and 20 ACT score.

Next year, the scholarship will award $3,000 to minority students with a 3.0 GPA and above, while students with a GPA of 2.5 to 2.9 will receive $2,000.

“That’s what this is really all about, ensuring students who want a four-year degree can afford it no matter what their family’s economic condition might be,” Caboni said.

Caboni was unsure yet whether this change in scholarship offerings will lead to a greater influx of students, but he did say the university is focused on getting the right students here on the Hill.

“This is focused not just on recruitment,” he added. “It’s focused on the students we know can be successful at WKU and retaining them through graduation.”

ACT scores will still be used to determine a student’s admission status.