Magazine article University Business

UC System Pulls Plug on National Merit Scholarships

Magazine article University Business

UC System Pulls Plug on National Merit Scholarships

Article excerpt

Six University of California campuses dealt a blow to the National Merit Scholarship program in July when its chancellors and Academic Council decided to purl out of the program. The $735,000 that UC paid to sponsor the national program for the 2004-05 academic year will be forded into UC's own scholarship funds, notes Provost M.R.C. Greenwood.

UC's academic readers are critical of the program's reliance on PSAT scores--the preliminary tests taken by high school juniors--to determine scholarship selection. A UC statement charges that "using the PSAT exam alone" to select students eligible for scholarship money places too much emphasis on testing and not enough on other factors. Worthy students are being left out. As a result of the reliance on PSAT scores, only 3 percent of 8,000 annual Merit Scholarship winners are black, Latino or Native American, UC officials allege. Last year, 600 UC students received National Merit scholarships. Awards usually range from $500 to $2,000.

The UC campuses dropping out of the program are UCLA, San Diego, Irvine, Santa Cruz, Santa Barbara, and Davis. …

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