Westminster College Seeks to Help Incoming Freshmen and Students in Need
In the wake of cancellations related to the COVID-19 pandemic, Westminster College is determined to help incoming freshmen and students in need. Last week, the College announced it will waive its ACT and SAT requirements for Fall 2020 applicants, guarantee merit-based scholarships of those currently affected by the COVID-19 campus closure and encourage donations to the Emergency Fund for students who are struggling financially.
Changes Related to the ACT/SAT Requirement
College officials explained that as long as students remain in good academic standing and return to campus next fall, they will keep their merit-based scholarships. That arrangement will continue for the next four years.
The announcement follows the nationwide cancellation of the May 2 SAT, the postponement of the April 4 ACT to June 13, and campus closures throughout the United States. Westminster began online coursework through its Digital Blue Program on March 23.
President Fletch Lamkin, Ph.D., said that Westminster is determined to help all students succeed.
“We know there are many excellent applicants out there without a test score yet, and we also know students struggle in various adjustments throughout their college education,” Lamkin explained. “Relaxing the testing requirement and guaranteeing merit-based scholarships are tangible ways we can help students right now.”
Dr. Paul Orscheln, Vice President of Enrollment Services, added that the Department of Enrollment Services will instead evaluate applicants based on grade point averages and other factors. He said the decision likely could benefit students who do not test well.
“We know that many students do not fit into the traditional educational mold, so we plan to reward their hard work in high school, taking into careful consideration all aspects of their educational experiences,” Orscheln said.
Changes Related to Merit-Based Scholarships
Orscheln further explained that Westminster’s merit-based scholarships differ from those offered at larger public universities, where a drop in grades could mean students automatically lose their scholarships. He said, “That can be shocking for a student financially, and once a student loses a scholarship, the individual must ask, ‘What do I do now? Do I drop out?’”
The new scholarship guarantee might specifically help freshmen whose grades dip slightly while adjusting to College.
Westminster is noted for its 10:1 student-to-faculty ratio that allows for a personalized approach to education. Faculty members work closely with students, particularly when they begin to struggle. In addition, students have access to the College’s new Student Success Center, which helps with a variety of educational concerns.
Donations for Students in Need Through the Westminster Emergency Fund
In a March 26 letter to alumni, parents and friends, Lamkin wrote that some Westminster students are struggling a great deal as a result of COVID-19. “The challenges brought about by this pandemic are affecting all of our students, particularly our most vulnerable first-generation and low-income students,” he wrote.
As a result, the College is encouraging individuals to help these students through donations to the WC Student Emergency Fund by following this link. After selecting the amount you wish to give, simply go to “Fund” and select “Other.” Under “Special Instructions,” type in “Student Emergency Fund.”
Lamkin explained that this particular fund helps the Office of Financial Aid, in collaboration with Student Life, in providing direct support to students by assisting them with such necessities as lost wages, housing, food, relocation costs and other essentials, including technology, household goods, clothing and textbooks.
About Westminster College
Westminster remains a competitive liberal arts institution with an emphasis on educating and inspiring young leaders to change the world. Founded in 1851 and home of Winston Churchill’s “Iron Curtain” speech, Westminster is ranked prestigiously by U.S. News & World Report as a National Liberal Arts College. The institution is in the top 15 percent for graduate earnings and boasts a 98 percent placement rate. The College also is a Forbes Best Value College. Westminster focuses on educating and inspiring students to find the power in their purpose in order to become the world leaders of tomorrow.