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University of Central Missouri changing criteria for certain scholarships

Changes switch focus from standardized test scores to GPA
Posted at 12:42 PM, Sep 07, 2022
and last updated 2022-09-07 13:42:00-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The University of Central Missouri announced Wednesday changes to its Red and Black Scholarship program to place less of an emphasis on standardized test scores.

The changes are set to take effect with the 2023-24 school year.

The Red and Black Scholarship, the largest scholarship program funded by the university, is an automatic award given to qualified incoming freshmen with amounts traditionally determined by a student’s ACT score and grade point average (GPA).

Previously, the university made admission to the school test-optional. The school hopes revisions to the Red and Black Scholarship program will reflect this change.

Chris Lang, assistant vice provost for admissions and analytics at UCM, said that under the new program, anyone with at least a 2.75 GPA will receive a minimum $1,000 scholarship, regardless of an ACT score. Plus, the higher a student’s GPA is, the larger the Red and Black Scholarship they will receive.

“In previous years, students who were test-optional, regardless of their GPA, would receive a $1,000 scholarship from us,” Lang said. “Under this new scholarship platform, students, if they have a low ACT or no ACT at all, can receive more scholarship dollars depending on their GPA.”

Changes also benefit students who have achieved excellent grade point averages in high school but may opt out of submitting scores on national tests.

“This new scholarship program is designed to give more money to more students and align with the university's mission to provide access to higher education,” Lang said. “These new scholarships help ensure that UCM remains affordable, even for those who want to take advantage of our test-optional admission. More scholarship money can allow students to potentially take on less debt and finance their education and also minimize the debt it takes to graduate with a bachelor's degree.”

The university says it's still valuing national test scores through the ACT Superscore. Students who took the ACT multiple times would use the Superscore to determine the amount of their Red and Black Scholarship.

The university also offers a program for transfer students, as well as a Second Generation Grant, the UCM Dual Credit Scholarship, and Non-Resident Scholar Awards.

UCM also expects to announce a new needs-based scholarship later this year.