Students Raise Fears Over Full Dickinson-Carlisle Scholarship

Aly Fosbury ’21, Layout Editor

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Although twelve Carlisle residents have applied for the newly formed Dickinson-Carlisle Scholarship, current students’ thoughts vary on the four year, full-tuition scholarship for a permanent resident of Carlisle.

To qualify for the Dickinson-Carlisle Scholarship, candidates must be residents of Carlisle with a permanent postal address during the application period and plan on attending Dickinson in the fall. Candidates do not need to attend the local Carlisle High School and must apply through The Common Application like all other applicants. While there are no minimum GPA or test scores to qualify for the scholarship, students with financial need will receive preference.

President Margee Ensign discussed her decision to institute the scholarship and its significance in a press release on Nov. 14, 2017. “Dickinson prepares engaged citizens and the leaders of tomorrow,” wrote Ensign. “We are encouraging Carlisle students to continue their service for the common good at Dickinson, while benefiting from an exceptional liberal-arts education.” She also divulged that the college has “established the Dickinson scholarship to show our commitment to our community, and because I know there are deserving local students who would benefit from Dickinson and who would also bring great value to our campus.”

However, students have raised questions about how this full-tuition scholarship will be funded and how it could affect other students receiving financial aid, especially international students, who make up about 13 percent of the student body, according to the Dickinson College website.

“I think there must be a full ride scholarship for international students as well,” says Burhan Khan ’21. “Some of them are from developing countries and paying even [a] few thousands in dollars is a big thing for them.”

Despite concerns from students receiving aid from the college, Catherine Davenport ’87, dean of admissions, does not anticipate a shift in aid because the scholarship will be funded through “the current merit and need-based aid,” a comment that Ensign also reflected.

“I expect that we will see an increase in applicants who are Carlisle residents, but I do not see a decrease in the amount of aid and scholarship dollars that we are already offering,” Davenport said.

Permanent resident of Carlisle and current Dickinson student Sam Arnold ’21 says that “Dickinson pulls a lot of really interesting kids from all over, but not many ‘locals’… I feel like a lot of local high school students don’t really consider Dickinson as an option…I think it would be nice to have a few locals thrown in there to represent a mixing pot from all over the world.”

Mary Smith ’20, another native of Carlisle, thinks the scholarship is “a really good initiative to get the Carlisle community to be more integrated into Dickinson.”  Her “biggest worry,” however, is that “as someone who’s on a big scholarship from Carlisle, I’m worried that it will stop Dickinson from accepting more Carlisle students with a bigger financial aid need and that it will turn into a scholarship where there’s only one person from Carlisle a year who goes to Dickinson instead of the regular two or three…”  She is concerned that this may “stop someone in need from getting a scholarship over someone who can afford [the full tuition], but I think it’s a good initiative.  I’m just hoping to see how it actually turns out.”

Davenport says that the scholarship will help increase engagement between the campus and the city of Carlisle. “Dr. Ensign is very committed to the local community and the partnership of the college with programs and opportunities that will be mutually beneficial,” she said.

According to a piece written by Assistant Director of Media Relations Craig Layne on Dickinson College’s website, this scholarship “reflects Dickinson’s deep commitment to the community and to providing a distinctive brand of useful education that informs a life of civic engagement.”

Dickinson is now the first liberal arts college to be part of the Engagement Scholarship Consortium, which focuses on “community-campus partnerships” and “educating the public on effective programs for community change”.

Candidates for the Dickinson-Carlisle Scholarship will be informed of the Scholarship Selection Committee’s decision in late March.

Mary Smith ’20, another native of Carlisle, thinks the scholarship is “a really good initiative to get the Carlisle community to be more integrated into Dickinson.”  Her “biggest worry” however, is that “as someone who’s on a big scholarship from Carlisle, I’m worried that it will stop Dickinson from accepting more Carlisle students with a bigger financial aid need and

that it will turn into a scholarship where there’s only one person from Carlisle a year who goes to Dickinson instead of the regular two or three…”  She is concerned that this may “stop someone in need from getting a scholarship over someone who can afford [the full tuition], but I think it’s a good initiative.  I’m just hoping to see how it actually turns out.”

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