N.Y. Changes Scholarship Policy

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New York State has scrapped its policy of awarding college scholarships on the basis of high-school grades in the wake of charges that schools had manipulated grades to win cash awards, state officials confirmed last week.

Instead, the officials said, the state has reverted to its previous policy of awarding scholarships on the basis of college-admission test scores, despite claims that such a system is biased against women.

At issue is $40 million in scholarships awarded annually by the state department of education. The Empire State Scholarships of Excellence, worth up to $10,000 each over five years, are awarded annually to 1,000 high-school seniors. The Re4gents College Scholarships, worth up to $1,250 over five years, are awarded annually to about 25,000 seniors.

Critics had charged that the formula for awarding scholarships favored males, since men, on average, outperform women on the admissions tests. In response, the legislature in 1987 adopted for one year a new formula that included grades as well as standardized-test scores.

But the legislature declined to extend the authorization for the new formula this year after receiving complaints that some schools had deliberately awarded higher grades in order to win scholarships for their students, according to a spokesman for the state department of education.--rr

Vol. 08, Issue 06

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