Campus welcomed 49 prospective students Sunday, Feb. 12 — all of whom were candidates for Taylor University’s new Joseph P. Blades Scholarship.
The award covers full tuition for up to six recipients. Candidates with a 3.5 GPA or higher and appropriate SAT score criteria are eligible.
The Blades scholarship has replaced what was originally the Act Six scholarship — a national program the university had partnered with until recently.
Act Six required third party recruiters who pooled candidates from two sites: Chicago and Indianapolis. While the application had no academic qualifications, the process did require prospective recipients to participate in steps like intensive interviewing and teamwork building.
One of Taylor’s two recruiting partners, Shepherd Community Center, chose not to renew their Act Six contract, thus eliminating the Indianapolis site. In turn, the scholarship candidate pool shrunk. The Rev. Greg Dyson, Vice President of Intercultural Leadership and Church Relations, said that Taylor had difficulty giving away Act Six scholarships.
The Blades Scholarship entered the picture to resolve this. Independent from any programs or third party partners, Taylor’s Blades scholarship can now pull students from anywhere across the nation. The scholarship also removes the previous Act Six interview process.
“The benefit for that is we're able to pull from many more communities at exactly the same moment,” Dyson said.
Recruitment for the Blades Scholarship is now conducted through Multicultural Student Recruiter Giovanna Domene. Prospective Blades Scholars are able to apply after they have submitted their Taylor application.
Maribel Magallenes, Director of Student Leadership and Cultural Programs, said that despite this shift, both Act Six and Blades Scholarship recipients will continue to receive the same amount of academic support and leadership opportunities and be encouraged to participate in the Office of Intercultural Programs.
“I think it's important that we seek to attract a more diverse pool because that can help us, student body wise, reflect more of the kingdom of heaven, and not just reflect it, but also live it out,” Magallenes said.
While both scholarship programs were important to Taylor’s growth, Dyson said that because of the Blades Scholarship, they are now tracking a 25 to 30 percent higher level of interest from ethnically diverse communities.
Scholarships like Act Six and Blades can help to attract more students from a wider diversity pool of academically and spiritually strong students.
“This scholarship has three major components and this is what we're kind of looking at: how are we helping to connect with students academically, how are we helping to connect with students spiritually and how are we helping to connect with students culturally?” Dyson said. “And as we do this, we're excited because we've been able to get a strong response right away on this program.”
The scholarship is named after Taylor University alumnus, Joseph P. Blades, who had a desire to reflect the impact of Samuel Morris. Although it took several years, Blades was resilient in funding and keeping his education.
Dyson said that Taylor is looking for individuals who exemplify Blades’ same persistence academically, will continue to help connect diverse communities and who have a clear desire to grow in their love for Jesus Christ.
Andy Gammons, Executive Director of Admissions, Andy Gammons said that this scholarship is funded through discounting the overall tuition.
“We are excited about this scholarship because it will help make Taylor University more affordable for these exciting multicultural leaders,” Gammons said, “They are students who want to be here and this scholarship will make that more accessible.”
With the exception of Pell grants, additional Taylor scholarships cannot be stacked with the Blades Scholarship. Students who do not receive the Blades scholarship are also eligible for the Mary Mcleod Bethune Intercultural Leadership Scholarship and the Corrie Ten Boom Cultural Diversity Scholarship.
Recipients of the award are expected to be announced sometime in the beginning of March.