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The Daily Tar Heel

Morehead Expands School Pool

The recently chosen schools join 80 other out-of-state schools that are allowed to nominate one student for the award, which provides a full scholarship to UNC.

"This is the continuation of a process that started in the early '90s," said Morehead Scholarship Director Charles Lovelace. "We've been trying to broaden access to the program."

Present high school juniors at the newly eligible schools will be the first students given the opportunity to apply for the scholarship. Lovelace said the new schools -- including both public and private institutions -- were chosen based on the Morehead program's internal research, which examined academic reputation and geographic location of the schools. "We looked at geographic areas where we do not have significant representation (at UNC)," he said.

Lovelace also said program directors would like to grant more schools eligibility but that doing so would decrease the amount of actual scholarships the program would have funding to award.

Several years ago, the program underwent an experiment in which 120 schools in Florida were given nomination eligibility, but Lovelace said maintaining close communication with all the schools proved difficult because of lack of interest in the scholarship.

"Half of the schools we couldn't get to nominate a student every year," he said. "Public school college counselors have a heavy course load and don't always give our process top priority."

Bianca Mislowack, a senior Morehead scholar from New York, said there was little interest in the scholarship at her high school, with only 20 out of 730 graduating students applying for the award. "Being in the North looking at a Southern school, a lot of people were not that interested in going South," she said.

But Mislowack said the increase in eligible schools should bolster excitement about the award. "By expanding the program, you increase the prestige nationwide," she said.

Selection of Morehead scholars is based on academics, athletics, moral force of character and leadership. Students selected for the award said no single criteria is emphasized in selection and that only students who are well-rounded in several areas were chosen.

"I cannot name you one dorky Morehead," said Charlene Wong, a freshman Morehead scholar. "They're active on campus and not just about academics."

Lovelace said placing less focus on academics allows the program to draw from a diverse set of high schools. "Whether a person has taken three Advanced Placement courses or four is not what were looking for," he said. "We want people who set the tone and pace of their high school class and contributed to the community in a non-academic way."

Lovelace, along with present Morehead scholars, said including a more diverse group of candidates will benefit the program.

"A lot of the schools eligible are upper-crust private schools," Mislowack said. "As a proponent of the public school system, I'm in favor of the increase. It gives a greater percentage of qualified students the chance to get in on the big cheese."

The University Editor can be reached at udesk@unc.edu.

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