Students heading for small, private colleges soon learn that scholarships and grants often level off the difference in tuition costs compared with a state-supported school.
Local students looking at Siena Heights University now know there’s a promise of scholarship funds reserved for Morenci graduates.
Pending approval next month by the board of education, Morenci will enter into a partnership with Siena that guarantees a variety of financial awards up to $122,500 in each year of a four-year commitment.
Financial help is not uncommon, said Frank Hribar, vice president for enrollment management. In fact, there’s an average tuition discount rate of about 30 percent.
The difference now is that assistance is guaranteed to any new Morenci graduate enrolled on a full-time basis. Without the guarantee, those applying for admission late might not have funding available. It’s the guarantee, Hribar said, that makes the situation different compared to students from outside the district.
“We want students who are talented and able to consider a college education,” Hribar said, “and to consider Siena.”
Siena’s commitment guarantees merit scholarships to those who qualify:
• up to five Trustee Scholarships of $10,000 per academic year;
• up to five Presidential Scholarships of $8,500 a year;
• up to five Dean’s Scholarships of $6,000 a year.
For those who don’t qualify for a merit scholarship, Siena guarantees a minimum amount of $5,000 in institutional financial aid to any qualified, regular admission graduate of Morenci Area Schools, inclusive of athletic grants.
In addition to the $5,000 commitment, Morenci students will be eligible to compete for one of two one-year scholarships in the area of health care or international business.
Siena is also offering Morenci staff members opportunities for professional development both in Morenci and at the college campus.
Similar partnerships have been established with Adrian and Blissfield high schools, but Hribar said the university is not interested in a blanket agreement with the Lenawee ISD.
“We want to make each one unique,” he said. “And we want to be partners before we create an agreement.”
Morenci superintendent of schools Kyle Griffith first met with Siena officials in several months ago to talk about the possibility of creating a scholarship arrangement.
“I want to increase the number of students going to college,” Griffith said.
Hribar considers the agreement as a foundation to build upon.
“What we get excited about is the spirit of the cooperation,” he said. “It’s fun to dream about it and think about what we can come up with. There’s a lot that can be done.”
Siena president Sister Peg Albert, OP. PhD., appreciates the connection the agreement makes with a local community.
“This agreement is just another example of the community collaboration Siena Heights University has always tried to foster,” she said. “We have had a strong relationship with Morenci schools in the past, and it has always had an outstanding reputation of educating its students. We are proud to enter into this partnership that will benefit both Morenci and Siena Heights.”