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By Mary Fan
Arizona Daily Wildcat
November 14, 1997

Regent's waiver policy reworked

An overhaul of in-state tuition waivers means next fall's freshman crop may have a shot at tuition waivers regardless of their high school class rank.

Until now, tuition waivers for in-state students, known as Regent's Scholarships, were reserved for students graduating in the top 5 percent of their class from an accredited Arizona high school.

The new policy does not consider class rank at all. Instead, financial aid officials will use a selection index to choose waiver recipients, said Phyllis Bolt Bannister, University of Arizona student financial aid director.

"This is a full and fair assessment of a student's school preparation," Bolt Bannister said.

The index factors in a student's high school grade point average in core courses like math and English. SAT or ACT scores, honors or advanced placement course work completed and the total number of high school units will also be figured in.

These factors are some of the most powerful predictors of later academic success in college according to a two year study by the UA Office of Decision and Planning Support, Bolt Bannister added.

"It gives us a better picture of the student because it considers more factors than just class rank," said Stephanie Adamson, senior program coordinator at the Honors Center.

The changes will not apply retroactively, so current Regent's waiver students, including more than 600 freshmen, can hold on to their awards -- provided they maintain a 3.5 GPA and continue taking at least 24 credits during an academic year.

The change in criteria does not mean the number of awarded waivers will necessarily increase, as those decisions will still be based on enrollment considerations.

"As enrollment varies, so does the number of waivers awarded," Bolt Bannister said.

The value of the waiver will also remain static at $1,988 per year, which covers in-state tuition costs.

Bolt Bannister said high school counselors are praising the change because it gives students with high SAT scores and rigorous classes a shot at getting the waiver. With such challenging classes, these students may not be in the top 5 percent of their class.

Scholarships considering class rank are not completely gone, however. The President's Award for Excellence, granted to Arizona students in the top 2 percent of their class, will still be awarded.

Currently, an administration team has endorsed the academic index in connection with the tuition waiver. Administrators may also change the award's name, Adamson said.

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