CMU amps up Merit Scholarship

Percentage structure preserves awards’ value as tuition rates change September 23, 2019 | Updated: September 24, 2019

| Author: Jeff Johnston

A new Central Michigan University scholarship program offers awards up to 75% of tuition.

The Maroon and Gold Merit Recognition Scholarship replaces the Merit Scholarship starting in fall 2020. Designed with student success top of mind, it exceeds the current program's top award by more than 44%.

"Providing students a financial path to achieve their CMU degree is a fundamental part of living up to our strategic plan to nurture student success," said Lee Furbeck, CMU's executive director for admissions.

Since 2010, CMU has increased scholarships and financial aid opportunities from $40.4 million to $71.9 million.


How it works

The new scholarship's six award levels — ranging from 20%-75% of tuition — are based on a combination of an incoming student's SAT score and high school GPA.

And because the award is a percentage of tuition cost — a feature unique to CMU's program among Michigan public universities — its value rises as recipients progress through CMU's new upper/lower tuition structure or if tuition rates change.

Students with at least a 3.0 GPA and an SAT score of 970 or higher qualify. Students with a 2.9 GPA are eligible with an SAT score of at least 1060.

The combination of GPA and SAT score determines a student's award eligibility. Students' ACT scores are converted to SAT equivalents.

The sliding scale is based on an Academic Preparedness Index that balances lower performance on one criterion with higher performance on the other — and gives greater weight to GPA overall.

"The previous merit award placed more weight on the standardized test score, but new analyses conducted for CMU shows high school GPA is a better predictor of student success," Furbeck said.

To qualify for the top award, for example, a student can have a 1,540 SAT score with a 3.8 GPA or a 1,360 SAT score with a 4.0 GPA.

To keep their scholarship, recipients must successfully complete 30 new CMU credit hours per academic year and maintain a 3.0 cumulative CMU GPA. Students who lose their scholarship due to academic performance may regain it by raising their cumulative CMU GPA to the required level.

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