The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Thursday May 26th

Less scholarship money given to students in School of Journalism and Mass Communication

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Simmons received $3,000 in scholarships and awards in 2013. This year, she only received $1,500.

She is not alone. The journalism school decreased the amount of scholarships and awards it gave to students by more than 58 percent between 2013 and 2014.

Simmons said she did not realize the amount of award money given to students was reduced.

“I am actually really thankful that I was still chosen,” Simmons said. “I feel really lucky to still be a part of the group that did receive scholarships.”

In 2013, the journalism school awarded more than $300,000 to its students . In 2014, the amount was reduced to $125,000, according to a press release from the school .

In past years, the school based the amount of awarded scholarships on projected returns, said Cathy Hanby-Sikora, associate dean for development and alumni affairs at the journalism school. The students for each award are decided on in the spring and then the money is distributed to them in the fall of the following academic year.

But last year, when the school overestimated the amount of awards that would come through from its alumni and other donors, it had to pull money from other areas.

“In the past that has turned out to bite us,” Hanby-Sikora said. “A couple of awards just weren’t given this year.”

She said the school’s new strategy for this year was to base the amount of awards on confirmed donors, instead of a combination of confirmed and expected — which resulted in the smaller number of awards given out.

The school did not include a few awards in its 2014 amount that it included in its total last year, said Kyle York, a spokesman for the school. Those awards were still distributed to students and faculty, but the school chose not to include them in its publicized totals.

Hanby-Sikora said the new strategy was more fiscally responsible and sustainable and, in June, the school will get its expected payout.

“It’s a better way to steward the funds,” York said.

The schools usually hosts an award ceremony in the spring after the recipients are notified, but this year the ceremony will be delayed until the fall, York said. The ceremony will include a dinner where students and donors can meet.

“Donors and students wanted a chance to interact and get to know each other,” he said.

Although the amount of money was much lower in 2014 compared to years past, Hanby-Sikora said the amount’s decline will not continue.

“It’s not a trend going forward at all,” she said. “We expect this will be a one-year correction.”

Contact the desk editor at  university@dailytarheel.com.



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