Community members and concerned students will gather at the California State University, Long Beach Anatol Center on Friday to discuss the proposed changes to the school’s President’s Scholars program.
Future president’s scholars at CSULB will soon face changes to the scholarship program that reduce the amount of aid offered in order to allow more students in, according to a statement from President Jane Close Conoley.
“For someone like me, the changes could have a negative effect because all of the financial aid they gave me was a big factor in me moving away and coming here,” said current president’s scholar and junior biochemistry major Tate Lone. “Maybe for those living in the [Los Angeles] area, it’s better for them because more scholarships are being provided, but if you’re coming from out of the area it’s a lot harder if you don’t have the full financial support.”
The President’s Scholar program started as way to elevate the scholastic achievement on campus and help CSULB become one of the most sought after schools in the CSU system, according to the press release.
Former CSULB President and President’s Scholar founder Robert Maxson said that he will continue to support Conoley’s decisions regarding the program regardless of any potential changes made.
“I have the utmost confidence in President Conoley, and I know whatever decision she makes will be in the best interest for the university,” Maxson said.
The new changes are consequently being made in order to widen the target demographic and help alleviate funding problems for the program, the statement said.
“Today, [the CSULB president’s scholar program] remains the state’s premier program of its kind,” Conoley said in a letter on the program’s website.
The press release noted that over 1,100 California high school valedictorians and National Merit, Achievement and Hispanic Scholars selected as President’s Scholars have made The Beach their university of choice since the program’s inception.
“Educational programs must grow, adapt, or die–simple as that,” said Trevor Teafatiller, a junior double-majoring in molecular cell biology and German studies. “The President’s Scholars Program is no exception.”
Teafatiller said that while the exact details have not been cemented yet, the biggest change current president’s scholars have been hearing is that the new program will be aligning itself with the CSULB honors program.
“It is hard to say what will come of the new changes,” Teafatiller said. “I am involved with both programs and have benefited from the dual nature of my experience at CSULB. Without the President’s Scholars Program and all of its benefits, I would have never been able to afford college. The Honors Program, on the other hand, has afforded me so many other opportunities, like my first job as their student assistant [and help preparing] my application for the BUILD program.”
Past and present president’s scholars will have the chance to offer their opinions and personal experiences with the issue at Friday’s town hall meeting. The event will be hosted by Conoley to address concerns related to the still unfinished changes in the President’s Scholar program. The town hall meeting will be held from 4:30-6 p.m.
Editor’s note: The original version of this article incorrectly attributed President Conoley’s remarks to press release. Updated Sept. 17, 2015 at 1:17 p.m.