Monday, September 21, 2020

Scholarship overlooks students

“Hey, Joey, did you hear about that new scholarship Plattsburgh is going to offer in the fall? That’s crazy.”

It’s hard to count the number of times I have been asked or taken part in a conversation about Plattsburgh State’s North Country Scholarship, and every time the topic arises, it’s frustrating to discuss.

The scholarship offers free tuition to North Country high school students accepted to PSUC who graduate in June 2016 with a 90 cumulative average or higher in a Regents program of study.
The North Country is comprised of seven counties including Clinton, Essex, Franklin, Jefferson, Lewis, Hamilton and Saint Lawrence. Students must graduate from a high school in one of these counties to be eligible.

Incoming students awarded this scholarship can receive it for up to eight semesters as long as they take 12 or more credits each session, maintain a 3.25 cumulative GPA each time and either live on campus or commute from their North Country home.

The scholarship is a great opportunity to receive a tuition-free college education, and I am not here to deny this. I am here to speak for all the North Country students currently enrolled at PSUC who met these requirements when they were accepted for admission, which includes myself, but were not eligible because they already attend the college.

It’s difficult to accept this when I know I did everything I would have needed to do to be eligible for the scholarship besides for the one component.

Here is my scenario.

When I graduated from Seton Catholic Central High School, located in Clinton County, I had a cumulative average higher than 90. Before my freshman year, I decided to commute to school from my North Country home. During my first semester at PSUC, I took 15 credits and maintained a GPA higher the 3.25.

Looking back, I did everything right except I graduated from high school in June 2013 and not June 2016.

I am now in my junior year at PSUC, and I have taken at least 12 credits each semester, tallied a GPA higher than 3.25 each time and continued to commute from home, so nothing has changed.
That is just my example, but I am positive I am not the only one who falls under these circumstances.

With the way the scholarship is designed, North Country students already enrolled at PSUC are excluded.

When next semester starts, there will be students from the North Country attending PSUC who have been awarded this scholarship and reaping its benefits.

At the same time, however, there will be others, like myself, walking around campus next semester prohibited from receiving the North Country Scholarship simply because of we already go to PSUC.

Just to be clear, I think the idea of a scholarship offering free tuition to North Country students is awesome, and I hope many receive it.

Looking at my time at PSUC so far, all I can say is it’s an amazing school that has presented excellent opportunities for myself to succeed as a journalist. I hope all new students get to experience everything PSUC has to offer.

It just seems it would make more sense that if in addition to incoming North Country students, those currently attending PSUC be grandfathered into the North Country Scholarship if they meet all its requirements and receive free tuition.

Email Joey LaFranca at

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