University of Central Missouri: UCM Restructures Red and Black Scholarship Program to Help More Students to Gain Access to Higher Education

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Consistent with its strong commitment to ensure higher education is accessible and affordable, the University of Central Missouri has announced the restructuring of its Red and Black Scholarship program to extend its reach and improve its financial impact on a greater number of incoming freshmen for the 2023-2024 academic year. While national test scores are still greatly valued in this restructuring, changes also benefit students who have achieved excellent grade point averages in high school but may opt out of submitting scores on national tests. Offering more scholarship dollars overall for entering freshmen, changes in the program range from adding a $3,000 scholarship level for those with a 3.95 GPA and no ACT to a full tuition and general fees offer for those with a GPA above 3.90 and an ACT above 32.

“This new scholarship program is designed to give more money to more students and align with the university’s mission to provide access to higher education,” said Chris Lang, assistant vice provost for admissions and analytics at UCM. “These new scholarships help ensure that UCM remains affordable, even for those who want to take advantage of our test-optional admission. More scholarship money can allow students to potentially take on less debt and finance their education and also minimize the debt it takes to graduate with a bachelor’s degree.”

The Red and Black Scholarship program is an automatic award that is given to qualified incoming freshmen with amounts which were traditionally determined by a student’s ACT score and grade point average (GPA). Now that admission to the university is test optional, the revisions to the Red and Black Scholarship program reflect this change, which demonstrates the cumulative GPA as a strong indicator of the student’s potential to succeed. Students with a high GPA will be eligible for a larger Red and Black Scholarship than in the past.


“In previous years, students who were test optional, regardless of their GPA, would receive a $1,000 scholarship from us,” Lang said. “Under this new scholarship platform, students, if they have a low ACT or no ACT at all, can receive more scholarship dollars depending on their GPA.”


He pointed out, under the new program, anyone who has at least a 2.75 GPA will receive a minimum $1,000 scholarship, regardless of whether or not they have an ACT score. The higher their GPA, the larger the Red and Black Scholarship they will receive. A student, for example, who earns a 3.95 GPA, without an ACT score, will receive up to $3,000 to apply toward their first year of tuition and academic fees. This is renewable for up to eight consecutive semesters. If a student has a minimum GPA of 3.95 and an ACT score of 27, they will be eligible for $4,500. If the student has an ACT between 32-36 and a 3.90 GPA or higher they will qualify for full tuition and general fees.


Lang said the university uses the ACT Superscore in calculating the amount of a Red and Black Scholarship. This score is determined through a process of averaging a student’s four best subject scores from all of their ACT test attempts.


“If students take the ACT test once, that score will be used to determine the score. But if they take it multiple times, through the Superscore they may see a bump in their overall ACT score,” Lang said.


The Red and Black Scholarship is the largest scholarship program funded by the university to support incoming freshmen. Awards are not competitive, but based on the student’s individual success, and can be combined with other scholarships. The university has a separate program for assisting transfer students, as well as Second Generation Grants, UCM Dual Credit Scholarships, and Non-Resident Scholar Awards. UCM also expects to announce a new needs-based scholarship later this year.

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