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‘Refer a Ram’ program offers $4,000 scholarship


Kyle Walker / THE GATEPOST

By Adam Harrison

News Editor 


FSU has introduced a new program, “Refer a Ram,” which awards incoming Rams $1,000 a year if they are referred to the University by alumni. 


This program will be in effect for students admitted for the Fall semester. It’s part of an effort to recruit and retain more students, according to Shayna Eddy, associate dean of admissions and director of undergraduate admissions.


The former “Refer a Ram” program provided students “the opportunity to waive the $50 application fee for prospective undergraduate and graduate students with a simple referral.”


Referred students would be promptly contacted by the Admissions Office and would 

receive priority consideration after submitting their applications, according to the FSU website. 


Vice President of Development and Alumni Relations Eric Gustafson said “We are excited to expand our “Refer a Ram” program to offer a scholarship to students who are recommended by our alumni and then enroll at FSU.”


In addition to the prior benefits, referred students will be awarded $1,000 per year for four years, totaling $4,000 over the course of earning a bachelor's degree. 


It is not available for those who are currently students at FSU, even if they have gotten a referral previous to enrolling, Gustafson said. 


The scholarship is only offered to prospective Rams before they apply, which includes both first-year and transfer students.


Gustafson said, “Referrals need to occur before the student is accepted to attend FSU. Ideally, alumni are referring students at the start of the admissions process.” 


Unfortunately for some incoming first-year students of the Fall 2024 semester, the timing of the rollout for this scholarship is coming after many students have already applied and been accepted through early action. 


Fortunately for those incoming first-year students, “We are extending the scholarship to students who have already been accepted to attend in the Fall,” Gustafson said. These students will be eligible for a referral until the 2024 Fall semester begins. 


The scholarship is earned by obtaining a referral from an FSU alum before applying.


Alumni have been sent both a postcard and an email describing the scholarship and referral process. “We will also be including information on the program in the spring alumni magazine. Our plan is to promote the program every year to alumni,” Gustafson added. 


Like most school-distributed scholarships, the purpose of the “Refer a Ram” scholarship is to increase overall student applications and admittances to FSU.


Associate Dean of Admissions Eddy said, “The nice thing about this scholarship is the students have someone they can speak with about their experience at FSU,” which would hopefully influence their view on applying to FSU, and positively affect their impression of what life at FSU would look like for them. 


Gustafson said this scholarship is intended to encourage prospective applicants to seriously consider FSU and also increase recruitment of students who alumni believe would be “great” fits for FSU. 

 

Eddy said the “Refer a Ram” program is available to all prospective students. “Currently, there are no requirements for the scholarship,”  compared to minimum GPA requirement, need-based, or major-specific scholarships. 


Alumni are able to refer anyone they believe would be a good student at FSU, which includes family, friends, and anyone else they think would be a good fit in the community.


An alum can refer as many potential students as they want because there is “no limit … except for alumni who are also FSU employees,” he said. 


“It is intended for anyone that an alum knows who they think would be a great FSU student. So, they can refer students who they know well, but who are not related to them,” Gustafson said. 


To refer a student, the alum will have to provide information that includes the alum’s name, email address, and graduation year. 


This is in addition to information about the student being referred that includes their name, classification (first-year or transfer), semester they are applying for, the school they most recently attended, relationship to the alum, and the student’s email or birthday. 


The options for the relationship to the alumni range from relatives to coworkers, to “other”, so there are no restrictions on who they are allowed to refer. 


This is the only step necessary to create a completed referral, and when the student applies and is accepted, they will automatically receive the $1,000 scholarship for their first year at FSU.


Eddy said this year will be used as a baseline of data for future years to determine how many scholarships will be given out, and how effective this scholarship will be in influencing prospective students to apply to and enroll at FSU. 


For students who are considering applying to FSU, the “Refer a Ram” scholarship is a simple and easy way to cut $4,000 off the bill. 


Freshman Jenna Freeman said they should be creating more scholarships for students who are already here and need the money instead of scholarships for incoming students. 


“I just feel as though if you already go here, you should be able to get that $1,000 instead of new students. It should be for commuters or people who are already here,” she said. 


Sophomore Hanay Moralen thinks the scholarship is “definitely a good idea. Plus, the alumni already know how the school works, so if they’re referring the person that comes here, it’s obviously because they think that person is a good fit for the school.


“I have some of my friends who have siblings and they’re going to start their college application process soon. So if I had graduated, I would’ve done a referral for them,” she said. 


Moralen could have used this scholarship and benefited herself if it had come out when she applied to FSU. “Some professors from my old school came here, so that would’ve been nice,” she said. 


Freshman Aaron Joshua believes the scholarship isn’t fair for students who don’t currently have any relationships with graduates, specifically Generation One students. 


“Seems a little favorable towards anyone who is a child or relative of alumni here … unless they can make friends with an alumni from here,” he said. 


Senior Haley Hadge said she thinks it’s a great idea. “If I was currently in high school and I learned about it, then I would do it.


“The more financial aid and benefits that you can give to students in need, the better. And getting them to go to FSU if they want to go to college, too - that’s a great opportunity!” she said. 


Junior Rachel Rafferty thinks it’s a great idea, and that it would increase recruitment to the school. “I think that it encourages more former students here to tell other people about the education that they got at FSU and the opportunities they got from going to FSU.”


She added, “It encourages students to come here and check it out. I know there are a lot of flashier schools than ours, so having those people can give that word of mouth that would help our enrollment here. So I think it’s great!”


Freshman Sarah Snyder said thinks it’s a good idea, but said the scholarship should be made available to current students.


“It makes sense, but at the same time, if you already go here, you should still be able to use it. Who couldn’t use a good scholarship?” she asked. 


Sophomore Bruno Barbosa said, “It will help with gaining students, I think it would ensure more students would come here due to it being less expensive because of the $4,000 in four years.


“On top of that, you can get more scholarships and save more money. Incoming students would enjoy that. I think it’s a good idea.” 


To access the referral form, alumni can go to the FSU website in the undergraduate admissions section, use the search bar, or type in this link:  https://admissions.framingham.edu/register/legacyalumni.

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