For hundreds of high school student body presidents, valedictorians and
salutatorians; Eagle Scouts; and participants in Mississippi Boys State and
Girls State, a University of Mississippi education just became a much better
The university has increased the amounts for several of its
“leadership scholarships” by 50 percent. A new scholarship also has been
created for any entering freshman who participated in Mississippi Boys State
or Girls State.
The idea is to recognize high-achieving students and encourage them
to continue to aim high, said Whitman Smith, Ole Miss director of enrollment
“It’s a deserved reward for students who have gone above and
beyond,” Smith said. “They should be recognized for being leaders, and they
should have an incentive to come to a school where they can continue to
develop their leadership skills in an academic atmosphere that will
challenge them and give them what they need to achieve their full
Beginning this fall, entering freshmen who were student body
presidents, valedictorians or salutatorians, Eagle Scouts or Girl Scouts of
America Gold Award recipients qualify for $6,000 scholarships, up from
$4,000, over four years ($1,500 per year). Mississippi Boys State and Girls
State participants are eligible for awards of $500 for their freshman year.
The increases should benefit hundreds of families annually. Last
fall, for example, nearly 90 Eagle Scouts and Gold Award recipients enrolled
as new freshmen at Ole Miss.
The university’s financial aid officers have advocated increasing
these scholarships because the level of achievement they honor is “a good
predictor of persistence, vision and the ability to get things done,” said
Laura Diven-Brown, the university’s director of financial aid.
Two other scholarships one for freshmen who were named as
governor for their state’s Boys State or Girls State, or who were their
state’s delegate to Boys Nation or Girls Nation, and another for freshmen
who were selected among the top 20 All-Star Scholars by the Mississippi
Economic Council get awards of $4,000 over four years ($1,000 annually).
“This caliber of student is the kind we really want to have on
campus,” Diven-Brown said. “Not only will they benefit from an Ole Miss
education, but it’s great to have them in our classes and participating in
activities with other students. They bring experiences and leadership
abilities that can benefit everybody else on campus.”