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Presidential scholarships not limited to five recipients, varies by year

Belmont awarded seven presidential scholarships to the class of 2019 this year despite a tradition of five recipients noted in Belmont online literature.

The presidential scholarship is “Belmont’s most competitive scholarship, awarded to five incoming freshmen, covering full tuition, room, board, books and fees,” according to Belmont’s Merit Scholarship web page.

The page continues to detail that, each year, Belmont awards general merit scholarships but also “traditionally” presents five presidential scholarships, one William Randolph Hearst Endowed Scholarship and 100 faculty scholarships.

However, Belmont’s presidential scholarship is not restricted to only five recipients, and this often varies each year, Provost Thomas Burns said.

“What we are committed to is having a minimum of five presidential scholars each year,” he said.

The presidential scholarship committee reviews a pool of 100 candidates, and then invites 12 from that group to come to campus for a day for one-on-one interviews and informational sessions, said David Mee, associate provost and dean of enrollment services.

In order to retain presidential scholars, the committee typically offers presidential scholarships to between seven and nine candidates, Burns said.

The university offers more than the minimum of five as the “yield rate” or acceptance rate can depend on the year, as the candidates going through the process may decline the offer, Mee said.

The “yield rate” is increasing, hence the increase in presidential scholars above the minimum of five, Mee said.

As for an increase in the minimum number of presidential scholarships available as the university grows, the presidential scholarship committee has not considered an increase yet, Burns said.

“I guess the answer is maybe,” he said. “We’d have to have a conversation at the senior leadership level to make a determination about whether the budget for the financial aid for the merit award for presidential scholars could or should increase. In everything we try to do, we try to be responsible stewards of the university’s funds.”

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