Don’t punish academic achievement

Liam Thrailkill

Grand Forks

My name is Liam Thrailkill and I am a graduate student at the University of North Dakota, where I am completing my MPA this semester.

I have received the North Dakota Academic Scholarship since my freshman year of college beginning in the Fall of 2015, and this was slated to be my final semester receiving the $750 per semester scholarship that can total to $6,000. However, I received an email correspondence from the University System that I do not qualify any longer for the scholarship because I lack one of the three requirements.

The three requirements include a minimum GPA, which I pass, a certain amount of progress toward graduation, which I also pass, and full-time enrollment, this of which I do not pass according to the standards.

Currently I am in my last semester and am taking 7 graduate credits, 2 short of the 9 needed for full-time enrollment per status by the University of North Dakota. I am writing because I am not a wealthy young person by any stretch, and am recently married of this last summer, and $750 is of great value to me and my wife. I do not meet the standards for full-time enrollment because all that is needed of me at this point is 7 credits for graduation and completion of my internship – which I am doing now.

My plate is full, to say the least, as I am taking some finishing classes, completing an internship, and wrapping up everything for my independent study.

I have worked hard throughout my academic career. I had nearly a year done before I attended my first semester of full-time enrollment at University level due to dual-credit courses and Advanced Placement testing. I am on time to graduate with my undergraduate and graduate degrees in four years total. I fully believe I am getting punished by excelling in academics by being stripped of this scholarship.

My hope is that this can be changed. On the North Dakota website where it outlines some of the requirements of obtaining and retaining the scholarship, it says: “If a student requires fewer than fifteen credits to graduate, the student may retain scholarship eligibility by enrolling in fewer than fifteen but at least twelve credits during the final semester or quarter.”

I am asking a similar policy be instated for graduate students who are able to use the scholarship and do not need the full-time enrollment of 9 credits to complete their graduation. I hope that you can help me make this a reality so future students who are counting on the funds will not have them stripped away due to academic achievement.