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YSU Scholars alums worry about possible changes

Published: Fri, August 15, 2014 @ 12:07 a.m.

SEE ALSO: YSU President Tressel hears faculty concerns

By Denise Dick



A group of Youngstown State University Cochran Scholars Program alumni worry changes considered for the scholarship awards will cause more harm than good.

The Leslie Cochran Scholars Program provides full tuition and room and board to 40 incoming freshmen annually based on their academic stature. It attracts students from the Mahoning Valley and across the country.

Alumni say that university trustees and the YSU Foundation are considering changes to the program.

“The proposals aim to effectively end the ‘full ride’ scholarship program [covers tuition, room and board and books], and replace it with ‘full tuition’ scholarship of lower value given to more students,” according to information prepared by the alumni group.

Joe Smith, a member of the Scholars Class of 1995, the third class of Scholars, said alumni learned about proposed changes through the grapevine and have three main concerns. Smith’s was the first Scholars Class to move into Cafaro House.

The first concern is with the analysis, which, he said, doesn’t seem to be very well thought out.

The idea behind it, the alumni say, is that more scholarships will equal more students. But Smith, a Hubbard native who lives in New York City and works in the advertising industry, said that the students replacing those who would have been University Scholars may be students from the area who would choose to attend YSU regardless.

Alumni just want to make sure that if changes are needed, whatever changes are implemented make sense, he said.

Ron Cole, a university spokesman, said the university is looking at the Scholars Program and exploring all options, but no decisions have been made.

Paul McFadden, president of the YSU Foundation, which funds the Scholars program, said a committee has been established to look “globally” at all scholarship allocations, but no recommendation has been made to the foundation.

The alumni, who compiled a brochure presenting their case, say the goal of the proposals is to increase YSU’s overall enrollment, thereby securing additional state/federal funding per student.

Smith said another concern is the process.

Scholars weren’t informed that changes were being considered.

“It’s the process that has upset many people,” he said.

The third concern is the impact on the program itself and on future donations, Smith said.

Living on campus allowed him and other Scholars to feel connected to YSU and Youngstown and feel like a part of the community, he said.

“That’s a big thing to me,” Smith said. “I want to make sure they’re not giving up on that.”

The alumni also contend that donations from Scholars alumni will drop. The oldest Scholars are turning 40, and because of family and other financial obligations, haven’t reached their full giving potential.

“There is great opportunity for development from this base of students who feel connected and want to pay back what they received,” they said.


1kensgirl(679 comments)posted 6 months, 3 weeks ago

Leslie Cochran intended for the top 40 only to compete for these scholarships. This gave students an incentive to do their best while in high school. Now I'm guessing the more "academically challenged" students will get this prestigious award. There are many scholarships out there for incoming students. To take away the scholars program and give it to more students and lessen the award amount takes away the honor. Come on Mr. Cole. You KNOW better! The one best academic program is now being changed to attract more students. Can't you find better ways to increase enrollment.? Why don't you get past scholars to do your thinking for you Mr. Cole? Obviously you need all the help you can get in the thought process!

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2apmessner(2 comments)posted 6 months, 3 weeks ago

Here's a link to some Scholar success stats: http://web.ysu.edu/gen/ysu/Scholars_m...

And here's a link to the counter-analysis brochure mentioned in the story: http://bit.ly/1pgUB4M

This is a legitimately impressive group of students. Any top university in the country would be glad to have them.

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3LisaCurll(1 comment)posted 6 months, 3 weeks ago

To Ohioption: These are excellent questions. My scholar class (2011) had one Goldwater winner and one Goldwater honorable mention (me!). I also received full-tuition+stipend into a Computational Biology Ph.D. Program at Carnegie Mellon and the University of Pittsburgh immediately upon graduating YSU (where I double-majored in mathematics and biology). I later opted to leave this program and go into business, but this was a personal decision. The YSU scholars program's achievements are legitimate.

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4walter_sobchak(2032 comments)posted 6 months, 3 weeks ago

To Ohioption,
Walter's son was a YSU University Scholar that received a BS in biology. In turn, he accepted a position in the OSU Biomedical Graduate Studies Program where he receives all tuition and fees plus a stipend. He is in cardiology research, specifically regarding the protein ankyrin, and is publishing his results. He will earn his PhD in another year or so and he is now considering post-doctoral research position. That is unless he takes a position as a Master Brewer for a beer company, for which Walter is holding out hope! In all sincerity, this program is not touted enough because YSU puts out extremely smart and motivated high-end graduates.

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5Spiderlegs(146 comments)posted 6 months, 3 weeks ago

The number of Goldwater winners compared to some of the other Ohio public universities is amazing. (See last page of counter-analysis.) I'm surprised YSU doesn't tout this more.

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6alpheusiam(64 comments)posted 6 months, 3 weeks ago

My daughter is a 2008 Cochran who graduated Magna Cum Laude in Chemical Engineering and was accepted for and then graduated from the prestigious Master of Brewing and Distillation from Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh, Scotland and now works in a supervisory capacity in The Golden Malting area at Coors Brewing (Millers-Coors) in Golden,Colorado. Talk about a dream of a lifetime job. Don't ever believe that being a Cochran Alumni isn't a passport to you're dreams. How many dad's can say: my daughter is a Braumeister and distiller? Seriously? Don't mess with the program, it ain't broken.

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7kensgirl(679 comments)posted 6 months, 2 weeks ago

If you have a problem with the scholars then that tells me what kind of lack luster education and job you must be disatisfied with. These kids go on to distinguished careers. Do your homework haters. Maybe you didn't do your homework. Green eyed monster rears it's ugly heads!!!

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8apmessner(2 comments)posted 6 months, 2 weeks ago

Fulbright Scholar #2 out of the YSU Scholars program: http://www.ysunews.com/student-accept...

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