We, the undersigned, petition The University of Akron to reverse its decision to no longer give scholarship refund checks. The university promised a specific amount of money to each student who receives a scholarship, yet is now failing to follow through.
The terms of scholarships have been changed, without directly notifying the students. UA has failed to consider the fact that students most likely have already planned budgets for next year, in addition to ignoring other negative consequences. We demand that The University of Akron take these points into consideration and reinstate scholarship refund checks.
The official statement, as mentioned very briefly in a Zipmail email in February:
"Undergraduate student scholarship awards from the University or its colleges are applied toward expenses reflected on your UA bill. There will be no refunds of scholarship dollars that exceed the cost of tuition, fees and on-campus room and board."
The University of Akron has recently made the decision to revoke student refund checks, meaning that students will no longer receive "extra" scholarship money beyond these designated amounts.
The following points are several negative consequences of the scholarship policy change:
· Students who live off-campus may no longer be able to afford rent/bills.
· UA expects that students will take advantage of on-campus housing in order to use the scholarship money, but this is not possible for students who have already signed a lease for off-campus housing.
· Many students chose to attend The University of Akron because of the scholarships they were told they would receive. Now that they will not receive the full amount, what is keeping them from attending a different university?
· Most students who receive scholarships, especially academic merit-based ones, worked extremely hard in high school to be able to qualify for those scholarships. They qualified, they were promised an amount, and they continue to work hard in order to maintain those scholarships. Now that they may not receive that full amount, they will be asking themselves, “Was all my hard work in vain?”
UA claims to value its students and want to increase student retention – but its actions with regard to this situation say the opposite.
If the university refuses to address this issue, I know what I will say in 5 or 10 years when they ask me to donate money – you already took it.
For all of these reasons and many more, we believe that students deserve to receive the money that was promised to them.
So, to those in leadership positions at The University of Akron – push for change. Reinstate scholarship refund checks. Allow us to use scholarship money to pay for off-campus housing, bills, groceries, gas, textbooks, and other expenses. Education is valuable – don’t take opportunities away from us.