$ 1 million available in new scholarships at UF

Published: Thursday, September 1, 2005 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, August 31, 2005 at 6:43 p.m.
The University of Florida made headlines boasting about 49,000 students enrolled this fall, but the university admits there is a decline in minority enrollement, but $1 million will be put to attracting minorities to become a part of the Gator Nation.
University of Florida president Bernie Machen announced in his State of the University address the beginning of the Florida Opportunity Scholarship Program.
This program will target low income students and students who are first in their family to attend college.
Machen said he had one million in house earmarked for this scholarship program and also plans for private funds to be contributed.
"I hope this will become a statewide effort and I hope legislature signs on it. There are a number of students that don't enroll because of the costs associated with attending college away from home.
"We want those students here at the University of Florida," Machen said.
According totheir website 12,000 of UF's students are considered minority being African American, Hispanic American, Asian American and Native American.
Machen said this school year undergraduate enrollement of minorities showed about a16 percent increase, about 130 to 150 students who are Hispanic. That data also shows that the enrollment of African Americans has decreased by eight percent. He said this isn't only at the University of Florida, but a statewide problem.
Because of this he said recruitment of minorities would be a state wide effort.
"If there's a way we can provide money and and make students more willing to come to the University of Florida, then we'll do it," Machen said.
Those in the area of recruitment at the University of Florida agree.
Patrick Herring, interim director of admissions said there are many things done in outreach yield for minority students.
These include things such as high school visits, direct mailings, and economic empowerment sessions for African Americans and Hispanics.
"I can't imagine any scholarship is not going to help students. It's a critical piece of recruitment,"Herring said.
As for the issue of the declining number of African American students, Herring said it's an issue recruitment offices are working on.
He said in many cases schools across the state are competing for the same students, and they plan to coordinate their efforts in that regard.

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