Wilfred Volesky: New scholarship opportunities for graduates
Beginning with the 2009-10 graduating class there will be two new scholarship opportunities for high school seniors. The North Dakota Career and Technical Education Scholarship and the North Dakota Academic Scholarship were authorized by the 2009 Legislature to encourage and reward high school students for taking more challenging course work in preparation for college and to prepare them for entering the workforce.
The amount of each scholarship is $750 per semester or $1,500 for the academic year based on full-time enrollment in a public or private accredited higher education institution in North Dakota. The scholarships are renewable provided the student maintains a 2.75 grade point average which is reviewed at the end of each semester. A student may be eligible for up to $6,000 within six academic school years of undergraduate study after graduation from high school.
There are a number of guidelines that a student must meet in order to be eligible for either scholarship. I will try to highlight the guidelines for each scholarship.
The North Dakota Academic Scholarship Eligibility Requirements include the following.
1. A student must be a ND resident and must have graduated from a high school in ND or from a high school in a bordering state according to provisions set forth in ND Century Code 15.1-29.
2. Must complete 4 units of English language arts which must include literature, composition and speech; 3 units of mathematics; 3 units of science which must include physical science, biology and 1 unit of any other science; 3 units of social studies including 1 unit of US History, 1/2 unit of U.S. Government and 1/2 unit of economics; or 1 unit of problems of democracy; AND 1 unit of any other social studies; 1 unit of physical education OR 1/2 unit of physical education and 1/2 unit of health; and 5 additional elective units.
3. Complete all of the following course and grade requirements: 1 unit of Algebra II; 1 unit of mathematics for which Algebra II is a prerequisite; 2 units of same foreign or Native American language; 1 unit of fine arts or career or technical education; 1 unit of a foreign or Native American language, fine arts, or career and technical education.
4. Obtain a grade of at least a “C” in each unit described above and obtain a cumulative grade point average of at least a “B”.
5. Receive a composite score of at least 24 on ACT.
6. Complete one unit of an Advanced Placement course and examination or 1/2 or 1 unit dual credit course.
The North Dakota Career and Technical Scholarship Eligibility Requirements include the following:
1. The same requirements as listed in 1 and 2 in Academic Scholarship above.
2. Complete the following course requirements and grade requirements: 1 unit of Algebra II; 2 units of a coordinated plan of study recommended by the Department of Career and Technical Education; 3 additional units, 2 of which must be in the area of career and technical education.
3. Obtain a grade of at least a “C” in each unit described above and obtain a cumulative grade point average of a least a “B”.
4. Receive a composite score of at least 24 on an ACT or a score of at least “5” on each of 3 WorkKeys assessments to include reading for information, locating information and Applied Mathematics.
Although there are many similarities between the two scholarships, there are some major differences. The Academic Scholarship requires the completion of rigorous academic courses while the emphasis of the Career and Technical Scholarship is designed for the completion of career and technical coursework and experiences. The Academic Scholarship requires the completion of an Advanced Placement course and exam or a dual credit course. The Career & Technical Scholarship allows a student the flexibility to score at least a “5” on three WorkKeys assessments or receive a composite score of 24 on the ACT.
Parents and students need to make sure that they understand all of the requirements for either of the scholarships. Students will need to properly plan their class schedule each year and then put forth the necessary effort to make sure that they earn at least a “C” in all classes and a “B” as a cumulative grade point average. Any questions they have need to be referred to the High School Counselors or High School Administrators.
The guidelines that are shown above apply to all students that graduate beginning with the 2010-11 school year. Legislators felt that one year was not enough time for the 2009-10 graduates to meet the guidelines of either scholarship. The only requirement for these graduates to earn a scholarship is to get a composite score of at least 24 on an ACT or score a “5” on each of 3 WorkKey assessments.
These scholarships are quite an opportunity for students since they can help ease the financial obligations for earning a post-secondary degree.
In addition, the additional academic or technical classes necessary for these scholarships should help students be better prepared for academic success at the post-secondary level. I am hopeful that many students and their parents will take advantage of this opportunity to earn one of these two scholarships that have been provided to them by the 2009 legislature.