What this means for Scott County

Judge Covington speaking at the scholarship announcement on December 2, 2019.

                The Legacy and Legends Scholarship applies to any graduate of Scott County High School or any resident who has lived in Scott County for over one year. It is a full tuition scholarship which only leaves a student to cover the costs of room, board, and any fees. This scholarship is the only scholarship that can be given by the college to a student, but the student can cover their additional costs with outside grants and scholarships that they may receive. The total cost of attendance for a year at Georgetown would be approximately $11,600 for a student receiving this scholarship making college highly affordable for eligible students. Each student still has to meet all the normal requirements for entrance into Georgetown, live on campus, and remain on good standing in their 4 years of enrollment. The money for this scholarship comes from the same place as all other scholarships: the generous gifts of donors and alumni.

                Scott County is not the only county receiving the Legacy and Legends Scholarship. Just this week, it was announced that Owen County will also be able to apply. There are actually four other counties that will be able to receive this full-tuition scholarship, but at the current time the other two counties cannot be disclosed. All four of the counties have a deep historical connection to the college. Scott County being the home of Georgetown for all these years, and Owen County for having a strong connection to the family of former President Mills. They decided on these four counties also due to financial reasoning. The goal was to reach students of counties who do not usually come to Georgetown. Dr. Jonathan Sands Wise, VP of Enrollment Management, says “It doesn’t help us to simply give a much bigger scholarship to students we were already getting. We need to get new students by doing this; that is how we help our current student body.” The current students enrolled at Georgetown that are from each of these counties will be receiving free housing equivalents to the dual occupancy standard housing cost once the scholarship is installed. Georgetown hopes that these students will see that this is a big scholarship coming their way that they had not originally planned on, and that they could not be grandfathered in because it would not help the current student body nearly as much due to real money that would be lost. Frustrations from these students are understood and recognized, and Georgetown hopes that this significant scholarship for them will help with potentially $15,000 being given to each county’s currently enrolled students.

The college had gone through a rough patch of declining growth in previous years, and they have now hit a point where growth is stable. They just enrolled the largest freshman class since 2011, but there is still major growth that needs to happen in order to develop Georgetown to the standard they wish to achieve. Sands Wise speaks on the necessity of this scholarship saying, “We need to grow to begin to do the other things we want to do and to begin living up to what student expect when they come here in terms of housing, food, class options and trip options, and that requires growth.” Sands Wise and the other members of the board project that they will have enough beds to house the immediate effects of the scholarship considering that the historic enrollment had been around 1300 students and currently there are just over 900. Long term, having new students coming to campus will allow the college to begin working on housing facilities that are shuttered, like Knight Hall, and potentially building new housing facilities. These options will be further discussed once the new students are enrolled.

                This scholarship came about with the new president of Georgetown College, Will Jones. He had experience with a scholarship like this with his previous college, Bethany. He came in with plans to implement the same thing for Georgetown. In one of the faculty’s earliest meetings with President Jones, he asked Dr. Sands Wise to begin crunching the numbers and seeing if it was a real possibility for the college. They had to calculate the current number of enrolled students from these counties, what kind of scholarships those students already receive, and what it would look like for the college if they did this.  They also had to make estimates of how many students it would bring in and what kind of reach they could get with counties and students that normally would not come to Georgetown. Efforts to communicate with the current students and their families are being discussed currently, and town hall meetings will be had in order to have their questions answered. Meeting times and sign ups will be announced this week.

“We really wanted to make sure that we did a program that was good for every student,” says Sands Wise, “We have been able to talk through what this would be able to do for all our students, and most of them are able to see ‘This is good for me too.’” Dr. Sands Wise and those developing the scholarship say that there will be major growth for the college allowing them to begin working on existing facilities immediately that need updates and renovations and give them the ability to control cost of attendance. Next year, they will be able to freeze tuition and keep it at the same rate for all returning students. There will be a fee applied to all students’ bills (even those receiving the scholarship) of $990 which is considerably less than they have raised tuition in recent years. Tuition for next year will not go up, but other costs will for every student. These costs will not increase more than they have historically, but it will increase by 2-3%. Without the influx of new students to Georgetown, tuition would have been raised, but thanks to this scholarship, tuition will stay the same. By bringing in these new students that would not have come to Georgetown in the first place, the college will actually be able to charge current students less. The goals of this scholarship are large, but the faculty behind these decisions are confident that they will be accomplished.