Campus: CSU, San Luis Obispo -- February 27, 2001

Cal Poly Initiates 'Cal Poly Scholars' Program For Top-Ranked Students

SAN LUIS OBISPO -- In an effort to ensure that top-ranked applicants make Cal Poly their first choice, the university has initiated the Cal Poly Scholars Program, which will offer full scholarships to a select group of seven incoming students beginning Fall Quarter 2001.

Annually, each of the university's six undergraduate colleges will select one incoming student for the honor and in fall 2001 the provost will also choose one student as an "at-large" Scholar. The scholarship will provide $8,000 per year, renewable for four years (or five years, for five-year professional programs), based on performance towards completion of an undergraduate degree.

"The strengths of our polytechnic mission, academic reputation and our 'Learn by Doing' philosophy have attracted to Cal Poly some of California's most outstanding students," said Cal Poly Provost Paul Zingg. "Because of these qualities, approximately 20,000 undergraduate applicants compete each year for about 3,500 spaces - a ratio that places the campus among the top five public institutions in selectivity nationwide."

According to Zingg and other university officials, though, some of the very top students - "the best and the brightest" - are lured away by other institutions offering full scholarships.

"Recently, many of Cal Poly's top academic recruitment prospects have chosen other universities because of larger scholarship awards," said James Maraviglia, executive director of admissions and recruitment. "Even the most high-demand campus programs, such as Computer Science, Aeronautical Engineering and Business, have repeatedly lost top students due to financial considerations. By offering these merit scholarships to our top-ranked applicants, Cal Poly will remain the university of choice for the brightest students. Most importantly, chosen students will know that Cal Poly recognizes their potential and can provide a challenging educational experience."

In addition to the annual financial award, Cal Poly Scholars will receive special presidential recognition and individualized attention and support throughout their undergraduate careers.

"Cal Poly Scholarships will be granted to top-ranked first-time freshmen applicants, with priority to be given to National Merit Finalists," Maraviglia added.

"The Cal Poly Scholars Program not only honors talented students, but it also inspires the entire campus community to seek higher standards of performance and achievement," President Warren Baker said. "Top-ranked students raise the bar in classrooms and laboratories. They provide leadership in campus clubs, assist faculty on research projects, lead teams to victory in academic competitions, and encourage their classmates to aspire to excellence in all they do.

"Recruiting the best students now will strengthen the university over the long term, by improving the caliber of students in future years," he added.

To underscore the importance of the Cal Poly Scholars Program and to maximize the value of sponsorship gifts, the university, its colleges and the Cal Poly Foundation have established a matching program. To encourage establishment of the first 25 scholarships, for every three dollars contributed by the university and colleges from donated funds and other sources, the Foundation will commit one dollar in permanent, ongoing support.

"The entire university community is rallying behind this program, assisted by committed donors," according to President Warren Baker. "The inauguration of this program is a marvelous way to mark Cal Poly's 100 years of service to California, and to position the university for even greater contributions in the next century."

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