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6 ADMINISTRATIVE ELEMENTS STUDENT FINANCIAL SUPPORT Undergraduate Scholarships National Scholars will require a variety of forms of financial support at all stages of the program, but it will be most critical at the undergraduate level. Entry into the National Scholars Program is an honor, and all students, irrespective of their family's financial circumstance, should be distin- guished by a merit scholarship. In order to be cost effective, however? the National Scholars Program should not provide full scholarship assistance to students who do not demonstrate financial need. We recommend that each of the National Scholars receive a merit scholarship of $6,000 to be applied to tuition, room and board, and fees. In addition, needy students should receive an additional grant based on financial need. In these cases, the National Scholars Program would stipulate that the award grant is a last dollar grant and should not be taken into consideration in determining institutional grant aid. No scholar would be required to borrow to cover college costs or work at a job that is unrelated to his or her academic program. Furthermore, no student should receive financial support need-based and/or merit-that exceeds the total cost of attendance at the institution. A consortium might elect to reduce the amount of the merit award in order to accommodate additional students with a fixed resource base. Conversely, in certain circum- stances, a consortium might propose to increase the merit award. However, the principle should remain: as in all highly prestigious and competitive national programs, all National Scholars should receive a merit scholarship in recognition of their academic excellence, irrespective of financial need. Graduate Student Support We propose that a doctoral-level National Scholar receive two years of support through the program. A National Scholars fellowship should be provided for one of the first two years the scholar is in graduate school' and the graduate departmentts) participating in the National Scholars Program must agree to support the student for the remainder of the student's tenure in the department. Each student would receive a seconc! year of National Scholars support during the dissertation phase of the graduate program. We propose that the financial support for graduate students in the National Scholars Program be $23~000 per year, consisting of a
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24 stipend and an allowance for tuition and fees. The Coordinating Council should determine how that sum will be divided, with consideration being given to permitting individual consortiums to propose appropriate amounts as long as they do not exceed $23,000. We are not recommending a higher stipend at this time for the dissertation year, but as the program gets under way and students near the dissertation phase? serious thought should be given to a differential amount. PROGRAM EVALUATION Program evaluation must be an integral part of the design of a National Scholars Program, and a percentage of total program funding (perhaps five percent) should be allocates] to evaluation activities. In addition' each consortium should designate an individual who will be responsible for data collection in the context of the evaluation plan. Evaluation should be built into the program from its inception. The individual sites should document the acacle~nic progress of the scholars, snaking careful records of those who eventually complete the Ph.D. and of those who leave the program and why. Information on what happens to National Scholars after they receive their Ph.D.s may be the most critical of all, in terms of iustifvin~ the On-term value of the program. , 1 Each consortium should track its graduates for at least five years after degree completion. Program sites should also develop information on what seems to be working, what does not work and why, what needs to be strengthened, and what should be dropped. An exit interview would provide insight into which parts of the program students found to be most helpful. All consortiums should be required to collect certain core data in a format that is comparable among the consortiums. It would be usefill for the consortiums that are Ended in a pilot phase to meet to discuss and agree on a set of uniform core data to be collected by all. Developing a software package that specifies the data to be collected and then entered into a data base for analysis would be desirable. The core data collected at the individual sites should be made available to the National Scholars Coordinating Council, which would then establish and maintain a national data base.