As a student of the University of North Alabama, I am discouraged and honestly outraged at my university’s decision to no longer follow through on its promise to award students the entirety of the scholarships they earn. For those who are unaware of what I am referring to, the UNA Executive Council decided it will withhold any institutional scholarship refunds to students whose scholarship earnings are greater than their tuition bill, with the exception of using the money to pay for university-owned housing or books purchased from the university’s bookstore.
The first ethical problem with this rule is that students who worked tirelessly to attain and retain these scholarships will no longer be awarded the money they earned and were promised by the university. The students awarded these scholarships count on their refund checks to fund basic necessities such as off-campus housing, food and, in some cases, childcare. University administration is acting in a careless manner to assume that students are not in need of the money they earn.
The second issue with this ruling is the university is changing the meaning of scholarship funding. Scholarships are awarded as a cash value, not as a class credit. Yet, by implementing this ruling, the university is saying that this scholarship is not worth the money it promised to the students, but rather is merely a credit to purchase the university’s goods and services. So, the university has no problem giving students the money they earned, so long as the students spend it on the university’s books and housing which far exceed the market price.
I encourage all students who see the unfairness of this ruling to email members of our university’s leadership, and show support for the students of our beloved university.