Mass. College To Award 30 Scholarships To Sophomores Ready for Advanced Study
Simon's Rock College of Bard, a small, well-regarded liberal-arts institution in western Massachusetts, has unveiled an unusual financial-aid program for students completing the sophomore year of high school.
Under the program, 30 advanced sophomores will receive two-year scholarships to the college in Great Barrington, Mass., beginning next fall.
Simon's Rock specifically caters to gifted high-school-age students who have outgrown their regular coursework and are prepared to embark on college-level study.
The students who complete the new, two-year "Acceleration to Excellence'' program and earn an Associate in Arts degree will then have the option of completing their bachelor's degrees at Simon's Rock for the cost of attending their home-state public college or university.
These students will also have the option of transferring with advanced standing to another institution of their choice.
The same arrangement will be available at Bard College in Annandale-on-Hudson, N.Y., which is affiliated with Simon's Rock.
The new scholarship program is modeled in part on an existing program at the school that enables high-school seniors who graduate among the top 10 places in their class to attend Bard College for the same cost as their state college or university.
Help for the Gifted
Bernard F. Rodgers Jr., the vice president and dean of Simon's Rock, said the scholarship program was being funded out of the college's operating budget.
Each two-year scholarship is valued at about $50,000; it covers tuition, room, board, fees, and a $1,500 stipend for summer school at Simon's Rock, Bard, or another college between the first and second years.
"We have watched the increasing difficulty schools have had in trying to meet the needs of their brightest students,'' Mr. Rodgers said. "One of the first things that gets cut [because of the recession] is the advanced-placement classes for gifted students.''
Simon's Rock was founded in 1966 as the nation's only college designed for students who have outgrown the curriculum of their high schools. It enrolls about 300 students, with most entering after the sophomore or junior year of high school.
To be eligible for the scholarship program, students must currently
be enrolled as sophomores, must have a grade-point average of 3.3 (out
of 4.0), and must have shown "sustained effort and achievement'' in at
least one extracurricular activity.