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New UAA scholarships support first-time and returning students

The University of Alaska Anchorage has ramped up efforts to increase enrollment in the past year, with incentives for returning students, first-time freshmen and residential students. 
 
“New scholarships are a great example of UAA’s responsiveness to the needs of our community,” said Lindsay Chadwell, interim associate vice chancellor for enrollment services. “The pandemic disrupted our students’ lives in many different ways, and we knew that some were looking at brand new barriers to remaining enrolled, or even enrolling in the first place. We came up with ways to assist our students financially, as well as ways to help them stay connected to classmates and the UAA community as campus life moved online.” 
 
The 49th Finishers Scholarship is available to Alaska residents who have earned college credits, but either studied elsewhere or took a break from school to focus on family, work or other endeavors. Students will automatically be considered for this scholarship if they fill out a FAFSA and apply for fall 2021 admission to a baccalaureate program by June 15. The scholarship is renewable for up to $8,000 in total assistance. 
 
The Seawolf Start Scholarship was created to help first-time freshman with the cost of tuition. To be eligible, new students must fill out a FAFSA and apply for fall 2021 admission by May 1, and register for a minimum of three credit hours with UAA’s Anchorage campus by July 1. 
 
Student Affairs has allocated a portion of stimulus funding to assist students with the cost of living on campus. UAA will be offering 500 $1,000 discounts for both the fall 2021 and spring 2022 semesters to help students cover the cost of a qualifying meal plan. These discounts will reduce the overall cost of living on campus and help to combat hunger and food insecurity among the student population. 
 
Additionally, new apps like Seawolf Mentor and CircleIn have opened access to peer-to-peer mentorship for students at all levels. Students can use these to connect with the wider campus community, or to connect with classmates to discuss class material and study for tests or quizzes. These have been widely successful during a year when nearly all of campus life, from orientation to student activities and classwork, has happened online. 
 
This summer, some numbers are up. UAA’s enrollment among first-time freshmen has increased 54.3% from summer 2020 to 2021. 
 
“We’re encouraged to see a real increase in new student summer enrollment this year,” said Lora Volden, interim vice chancellor for student affairs. “While we’re by no means back to normal, we believe we’re headed in the right direction. We’re also proud to be offering as much support as we can as students get back on track and work toward their futures.”
 
The summer 2021 semester will continue with primarily online delivery as UAA looks to the fall for a potential return to in-person classes.

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