Big news about the Presidential Scholars Program of Florida State University

The Presidential Scholars Program is expected to expand to one next year. It is planned to admit 60 students as against the previous strength of 30 students. The November 8 announcement creates the framework for the program’s expansion to incoming freshmen who meet its entrance requirements for the 2023-2024 school year.

Launched in 2014, the Presidential Scholars Program seeks to attract “the highest achieving minds in the country,” according to a statement from Florida State University. This merit based scholarship was distributed to 25 students in the first year and since then it has been fluctuating between 20-30 students.

The program, with a total merit scholarship of USD 38,000 and out-of-state tuition waiver, aims to create a 4-year experience focusing on “Knowledge, Leadership, Service and Character”. Students enrolled in the program are expected to engage in international study and participate in the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP).

The USD 38,000 scholarship is divided into USD 14,000 Presidential Scholarship, USD 12,000 Entrance Scholarship, and USD 12,000 for “Education Enrichment Programs” – experiences that expand on the program’s basic expectations of international study, research, and service.

“We are excited to expand the program with a combination of philanthropic and institutional funds,” Dr. Craig Filler, director of the Presidential Scholars Program, told FSView. According to the Florida Board of Governors, FSU allocated USD 46,481,148 in institutional investment for the 2022-2023 academic year—the second most among all universities in the state university system. This is an increase of USD 808,338 from the 2021-2022 academic year.

The USD 41,754,252 in state funding does not apply to the Presidential Scholars Merit Scholarship, as the scholarship itself is not included in many state-funded scholarships. However, the success of Presidential Scholars is important for performance-based allocations from the state government to Florida State University.

Funding benchmarks created by the Board of Governors include the percentage of enrolled freshmen who were in the top 10% of their high school graduating class. FSU specifically has a benchmark for the number of graduate students pursuing Bachelors who have taken an entrepreneurship class. The Presidential Scholars Program, along with the University Honors Program, emphasizes the development of entrepreneurship within their peers.

Dr. Filler credits the successful expansion of the program “to the donors who have invested in the Presidential Scholars Program and our students.”

Applicants selected for the Presidential Scholars Program are those already admitted to the University Honors Program, which also doubled total enrollment from 400 to 800 in class sizes, FSU reports. Florida State University promotes small class sizes with a special focus on honors programs as an attraction.

Dr. Filler further added that the department is in the process of approving two full time positions to work under the Presidential Scholars Program. When asked how this would affect a doubling in the size of the Honors-at-Large population.

The expansion of the University Honors Program and the Presidential Scholars Program has led to an influx of a potential 460 students joining the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program. The UROP is a requirement of all Presidential Scholars and is one of the achievements that can provide the points required for graduation within the University Honors Program.

When asked how increased class sizes will affect UROP admission for non-honors students, Alicia Batleys, associate director of the Center for Undergraduate Research and Academic Engagement, said, “[UROP] will also continue to grow. We expect to continue to serve first, second year, and transfer students from across campus, representing nearly all colleges and most majors, thus with diverse backgrounds and a wide range of academic and career interests Maintain our support of students. How the program expects to handle this increase was not specified.

According to University News Director, Amy Farnum-Patronis, FSU has seen growth in graduate admissions over the past eight years, reflecting a 157% increase in first-year applications since 2016. For the 2022-2023 school year, FSU envisions 17,000 students with approximately 6,000 enrollments.

The growth of the Presidential Scholars Program is aimed at new enrollment as well as expansion, with students in the program making up 1% of the first-year population.

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