To the Manhattan College community:
This op-ed is in response to the article “Changes to Talent Scholarship Application for Class of 2023,” by Pete Janny, Joseph Liggio, Christine Nappi and Sophia Sakellariou, which was published in the April 16 edition of The Quadrangle. As the article stated, “Prospective scholarship recipients are now required to be committed to Manhattan College and enrolled for the Fall 2019 semester in order to be eligible to receive a Quad or Performing Arts scholarship … With scholarships no longer guaranteed prior to committing to Manhattan, this procedural change now lessens the weight the scholarships would have held in a student’s college decision. For some, this revision may affect whether or not an applicant chooses to enroll at Manhattan.”
The students who contributed to this piece acknowledge that college decisions are now largely based on money, rather than a student’s abilities. Restricting scholarships that take these abilities into consideration only makes a college education more exclusive, and that is wrong.
Below are the stories of six of the 20 Manhattan College students who are currently recipients of the Quadrangle scholarship. As the students whose future classes will be impacted by these changes, they elected to speak up for what they believe is right, which is asserting themselves as vehement opponents of this new change in policy.
“The Quadrangle Scholarship was a big deciding factor for me not only to enroll into Manhattan College but to even consider attending college in general. Initially, college was not an option for me, mostly because I did not want to rely on my parents for any type of funding. After seeing how much the cost of tuition was to go to other colleges, I just decided to give up, until I got an e-mail from The Quadrangle Newspaper about a scholarship application opportunity. The scholarship has eased some of the financial burden on me personally, and I hope nothing changes with it, so at least people who are paying their tuition on their own, like I am, will have this as an option to consider.”
-Brian Asare ‘22, Photography Editor
“My process of choosing a college was intensely restricted by finances. As one of five children from a family in rural Ohio, my chance to attend a school in New York came down to my ability to get as many scholarships as possible. This required dedication to my skills. Though I was a high school athlete, I knew I could not count on sports scholarships to make my dream possible. My most viable option was to write my way into the college of my choice. The changes in the scholarship selection process prevent people like me from considering Manhattan College. If athletes were expected to fully commit to a college before discussing scholarship amounts, there would be riots across campus. For students like me who worked hard to obtain other scholarships, it is offensive that we would have to be subjected to this process. For most of us, these scholarships make or break our chances to attend different schools. Why are athletes permitted the ability to weigh their options and bargain their specialized skills if students involved in academic or artistic organizations cannot do the same? This unfair new rule prevents educational opportunities to hardworking prospective students, and our Lasallian institution should do better.”
-Haley Burnside ‘19, Senior Writer
“This new restriction on who can apply for The Quadrangle scholarship is not in accordance with Manhattan College’s Lasallian principles, particularly those of Quality Education and Inclusive Community. Five thousand dollars a year is a lot of money, and it is truly a game-changer. The Quadrangle Scholarship is the only reason I was able to attend Manhattan College. Without that money, the college would have been out of my price range. Furthermore, one of the biggest reasons I came to this school was because of that scholarship, and because of its direct tie to my career interests. I turned down a full ride from Iona College to accept the Quadrangle Scholarship and come to Manhattan College. I could have obtained a bachelor’s degree debt-free, but instead, my entire family and I pooled together our money so I could go here and follow my lifelong dream of becoming a journalist. It absolutely breaks my heart that students who want to do journalism might not have the opportunity because they are still exploring their options, or cannot afford to attend Manhattan College without it.”
–Rose Brennan ‘20, Arts & Entertainment Editor/Managing Editor
“My college search seemed like it would never end. I visited schools left and right, and my parents were there every step of the way. I was lucky. But, I had no idea what I wanted to major in, and the stress of picking a college was overwhelming. At the time, it seemed like the most important decision of my life. Of course, money was one of the most crucial factors. But, attending a school that offered me the most enriching opportunities was right beside that on the list of things I was looking for in a college. When I received the news that I would potentially be a Quadrangle scholar and do something I love, like writing, I knew what my decision was. The new scholarship policy will exclude a group of talented, passionate and enthusiastic students that were in the same situation as me. The journalistic tradition relies on future generations, and Manhattan College should make every effort to foster a community that is inclusive to everyone.”
-Alexa Schmidt ‘21, Features Editor/Managing Editor
“As time has progressed and the cost of receiving a college education has risen immensely, students’ reliance on scholarships and financial aid has become even more obvious. While it is not ideal, it is only fact that money has become a deciding factor in which college students decide to attend. Not allowing students who have not enrolled at Manhattan College to apply for The Quadrangle scholarship will not only impact the newspaper’s ability to have a strong foundation of staff writers, but may also hinder a student from reaching their full potential as a journalist because they cannot enroll at MC without the scholarship. In my experience, The Quadrangle scholarship allowed me to confidently decide to attend MC without the fear of overwhelming debt after college, and has granted me the priceless experience of learning to be a journalist alongside other passionate students. It is concerning to me that future students who wish to become a part of The Quadrangle may feel discouraged to do so, and I am fearful for the future for the newspaper if this harmful limitation against students applying is put in place.”
-Shannon Gleba ‘21, Staff Writer