New scholarship program at Pitt State to make college more affordable  

In an effort to remove hurdles to students seeking a college education, Pittsburg State University is rolling out the Great Gorilla Scholarship Program starting in Fall 2024. 

“We understand the fragility of what’s happening at the federal level, and we are doubling down on our commitment to students to find an affordable college option and sustain it over a full four years so that they finish with their degree,” said Karl Stumo, vice president for Student Affairs and Enrollment Management.  

As part of the program, Pitt State is rethinking and investing more in the university’s current academic achievement awards — scholarships that are given at varying levels based on a student’s high school performance. 

The university is making three important changes to this long-standing program that will help students go to and stay in college.  

First, an ACT test score is no longer required. The awards are based only on GPA. Second, the award levels are adjusted to reflect the current realities of the cost of college. 

Most importantly, Pitt State will expand the academic achievement awards that are awarded to freshmen so that they are renewable for four years, rather than two. In the past, students have transitioned from admissions scholarships for the first two years to departmental scholarships in their last two years. Renewal is based on their college GPA.  

“That has become a challenge for students,” Stumo said. “This new program will reduce the stress that students often face in their junior year to find other scholarship or aid sources as they push toward the finish line. We will guarantee a four-year award from the beginning.” 

Rethinking the academic achievement awards is part of the completion imperative at Pitt State that also includes centralized academic advising, additional resources for mental and physical healthcare, and investment in systems that track student progress and alert when a student falls off pace.  

In addition to a revamp of the academic achievement awards, Pitt State is exploring completion grants and other financial assistance options that help students cross the degree finish line.  

“The impact that earning a college degree has on a student’s life has been proven, from job security to higher earning potential to greater advancement opportunities,” Stumo said, “so we will continue to explore additional funding options that are aimed at student success."

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Great Gorilla Scholarship Program