The University of Texas at Tyler has upended the plans of an estimated 40 or more Nepali students to whom they’d previously pledged full-ride scholarships, by unexpectedly revoking the awards. Late last year the Dallas area-university, 1 of 14 institutions that comprise the University of Texas system, notified students that they had been granted Presidential Fellow scholarships, which were designated to cover most of students’ expenses, as the President explained in a congratulatory e-mail:
“This means our university and hopefully your new home for the next four years is taking care of your tuition, fees, housing, meal plan, and books! Yes, I’m serious!”
But apparently they weren’t too serious.
Because on April 13th students received a very different message, explaining that the university’s “scholarship requests exceeded the amount budgeted for this year” and that as a result, “we will not be able to offer you the Presidential Fellows scholarship.” The students were instead offered a “Patriot Scholarship”, a $5,000 annual award renewable to cover all 4 years, and the in state resident tuition rate, much cheaper than the going rate for international students. The message ended with the university apologizing “for any inconvenience”.
To put this change in students’ fortunes into some perspective, the university estimates total 2018-2019 academic year expenses for Texas residents who live on-campus at $21,730. Now, with the $5,000 scholarship promised instead of a full-ride, the students would have to come up with an additional $17,000 to finance their 1st year of undergraduate education at UT Tyler, and presumably as much in each subsequent year.
The original scholarship notification announcement included the caveat that funds were limited and that the scholarships were awarded on a “first come, first-served” basis. Students were prompted to “confirm your attendance today.” However reports suggest that many of the students whose offers were revoked had in fact paid scholarship confirmation fees to secure their award.
The Dallas Morning News reports that the “2018-19 merit-based scholarships are the most ever awarded to freshmen by the university”, but that is likely no solace to those whose awards were revoked. Other local media have picked up on the story, while affected students have taken to social media to plead their case.
Meanwhile, the Department of State-supported United States Education Foundation in Nepal is attempting to provide support. Those looking to help are encouraged to contact Ms. Selena Malla, Educational Adviser, by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org