The University of Alabama in Huntsville has raised the requirements for the Charger Excellence scholarship, which currently covers 100% of tuition and two years of on-campus housing. Prior to this year’s freshman Class of 2023, the Charger Excellence scholarship was automatically granted to students who scored 34, 35, or 36 on the ACT and maintained or exceeded a GPA of 4.0 throughout high school. Furthermore, prior to the Class of 2023 the Charger Excellence scholarship covered 100% of housing for all four years. Now, an applicant must score a perfect 36 on the ACT along with a 4.0 GPA to earn the scholarship. As of right now, the university has not changed the requirements for the Charger Distinction scholarship, which covers 100% of tuition. However, starting next year, the Charger Excellence scholarship will only cover one year of housing, and the requirements for the Charger Distinction scholarship will be slightly higher for non-Alabama residents. The Charger Platinum scholarship, which offered extra incentive to National Merit Scholars, has been totally removed from the Admissions website’s scholarship page at present.
The University of Alabama in Huntsville has proved to be a very affordable option for many students. In fact, almost half of the classes of both 2022 and 2023 are eligible for the Charger Distinction full tuition scholarship. Academic data for both classes can be found within the university’s common data sets and enrollment records. With an average high school GPA of 3.88 and with 48.08% of students reporting an ACT score of 30 or higher, almost half of last fall’s freshman class fulfilled the requirements for the Charger Distinction scholarship. This year’s freshman class is in a similar situation, with an average GPA of 3.91 and 48.7% reporting a 30 or above on the ACT.
In a slideshow presentation given to the UAH Retiree Association in 2015, the university’s strategy for growth was outlined. Merit tuition scholarships were a major aspect of this plan, along with campus improvements, expanded AP score acceptance, and expanded recruitment both in and out of Alabama. Two major planned campus improvements presented in the slideshow were the Student Services Building, which was constructed in 2016, and “A UAH Incubator,” which was constructed in 2019 and named The Innovation Center.
According to another document, an outline for a presentation to the University of Alabama in Huntsville Board of Trustees from 2018, the university’s administration “put a plan, strategy and tactics in place around 2013 to grow the enrollment to enhance the intellectual environment (sic), make the campus more vibrant, and increase revenues.” Since 2013, the average freshman class size has more than doubled, and the average ACT score of the freshman class has risen to a 28.5. Now that the university administration is happy with the university’s growth, it seems that they are drawing back their scholarship offerings and focusing chiefly on campus improvements.
The proposed campus expansion across Sparkman will include a new athletic complex for our hockey and basketball teams, along with “housing for 200 students … 170,000 square feet of ground floor commercial retail … 3.5 acres of parks and open spaces,” according to AL.com. Hopefully, this expansion will give the university the college campus magic many feel it is missing; although many of us will be gone by the time it is completed, we can only hope that the experience improves for future students.