Texas Tech University

What’s in a Scholarship

March 13, 2024

What’s in a Scholarship

Texas Tech’s Vice President of Enrollment Management discusses the value of scholarships to the university.

Jamie Hansard knows a thing or two about what it takes to get students into, and graduated from, Texas Tech University.

As vice president of enrollment management, she leads a cross-functional team that deals with everything from undergraduate admissions to financial aid and the registrar's office.  

Texas Tech welcomed more than 12,000 new students for the fall 2023 semester, including a record 7,200 first-year students. That success in recruiting is made possible in large part by Hansard and her team, along with the financial support Texas Tech has been able to offer students.  

“We use scholarships to recruit, retain and ultimately graduate students,” Hansard explained. “At Texas Tech we have our Presidential Merit Scholarship program, which allows us to award scholarships to incoming undergraduate students. And it's based upon their academic performance, whether at their high school or their community college. 

“Being able to offer merit scholarships to students as we recruit them becomes and essential aspect of our recruitment strategy. Additionally, we utilize scholarships as a means to retain students.” 

Jamie Hansard
Jamie Hansard

The Presidential Merit Scholarship program offers a range of support for incoming students. A first-year student can receive anywhere from $1,000 to $9,000 depending on their achievements prior to college, and that flexibility allows Texas Tech to compete for the type of students it wants to bring to campus.  

Those scholarships also come with high expectations and renewal requirements, incentivizing success once the students are on campus.  

“I think it's important to realize that scholarships not only help us with enrollment, but they also help us with retaining students and graduating students,” Hansard said. “This facilitates the enhancement of our retention and graduation rates, which yields positive outcomes for the university. Moreover, it aids in sustaining our Tier 1 research status by graduating and attracting top-tier, high-ability students.” 

While those scholarships come with high expectations, they are still flexible enough to reach a large student population, and that ability is crucial for recruiting.  

“Flexible scholarships play a crucial role in the scholarship process,” Hansard explained. “Essentially, they lack restrictive criteria, enabling us to award them to a larger pool of students. 

“With flexibility, we can modify both the scholarship amount and the required criteria to remain competitive in recruiting the most talented students. In the increasingly competitive landscape of college admissions, scholarships emerge as pivotal game-changers.” 

Scholarships like those awarded through the Presidential Merit Program offer wide-ranging impact, but that isn't the case for all scholarships.  

Others are much more restrictive, or targeted to a very specific group. They, of course, are still impactful, but can often be limiting.

“A lot of times when we have scholarships that are so restrictive”, it doesn't allow us to adjust that student's package to make sure that they have the aid that they need to enroll.” 

Flexibility in scholarships allows Texas Tech to adjust to a student's individual needs. The university has invested significant resources in student success, including the launch of the Raider Success Hub, but making sure students have the academic support they need is only part of the journey.  

With an ever-changing economy, having the ability to support student's financially is a major factor in supporting the student's academic success.   

“Flexibility is extremely critical in working with students because circumstances change throughout their academic journey, and there may be a change in their financial status or their family's financial status. 

“This underscores the necessity for us to maintain our competitive edge. We must be timely in offering scholarships, ensuring that the amounts and the criteria are both competitive and attractive to prospective families as we recruit.” 

Texas Tech Now