WT Merit Scholarships promise savings of up to 84 percent yearly for more students


CANYON, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) – According to West Texas A&M, more students will receive more financial assistance beginning Fall 2021, under the West Texas A&M Merit Scholarship Program.

The newly overhauled program could increase the number of qualifying students and raise the amount given to up to $8,000 per student per year. According to the University, students are guaranteed that, as long as they meet credit-hour and GPA requirements, they will receive the merit scholarship for four years or until they complete a bachelor’s degree, whichever comes first.

“That means qualifying students could have approximately $32,000 of their four-year degree paid for even before other University, departmental or external scholarships are applied,” said Jeffrey Baylor, executive director of admissions.

For students who live on campus, the scholarship could reduce by almost half the tuition, fees, and housing cost. For students who live at home, the cost of attending WT could be reduced to approximately $1,500 per year or $6,000 over four years – an 84 percent annual savings. Students not at the top level could see between $6,000 and $16,000 in annual savings – up to 42 percent off of tuition and fees.

“Our expanded merit scholarship plan truly lives up to the ideals espoused in our long-term plan, WT 125: From the Panhandle to the World,” University President Dr. Walter Wendler said, “We are seeking motivated students who have prepared themselves for the university experience. By increasing both the number of eligible students and the amounts given, we will provide wider university access across the Panhandle and build undergraduate academic excellence across the entire University.”

“Recruiting, retaining, and graduating meritorious students provides an important asset to communities across the Panhandle and region,” said Dr. Neil Terry, provost and executive vice president for academic affairs. “Approximately 65 percent of students who receive a degree from WT remain in the region to work and live, which leads to economic growth and improved community life.”

He says that revising the scholarship program keeps WT competitive with universities across the nation.

“We are investing in our students by keeping their costs and potential debt low.” Terry continued, “We know that these bright and committed students have a high propensity to complete a degree. Faculty enjoy teaching motivated students, and these students make the overall educational environment better for all students.”

Baylor explained that merit scholarships are awarded based on students’ high school achievements, not based on need. WT’s Merit Scholarship Program are based on class rank and ACT or SAT scores so that top students can receive up to $8,000 per year. Other levels are $4,000, $3,000 and $1,500 per year.

Students can apply by Feb. 1 for additional scholarships beyond the merit program.

According the the University, WT began its Fall 2020 semester with 10,169 students, the largest enrollment in the school’s history, and nearly a one percent increase over 2019. The number of students eligible for academic-based scholarships rose 4.6 over 2019, indicating that more high academic achievement students entered WT this fall than last year.

That number is expected to increase significantly with the new Merit Scholarship Program Guarantee, Baylor claims.

Scholarships for qualifying students are provided by a combination of University funds and past and future philanthropic gifts.

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