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10/10/01

National Science Foundation Awards $400,000 Grant to Benefit Students in Westminster College's Computer Science
and Math Programs

Salt Lake City, October 10, 2001. The National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded Westminster College a $400,000 grant to serve as scholarships for students seeking computer science or math degrees.

The NSF Computer Science, Engineering, and Mathematics Scholarship (CSEMS) Program provides funds to institutions to support academically talented, financially needy students who are pursuing degrees in computer science, engineering and mathematics. As Westminster does not offer an engineering degree, the funds will be allocated to students in the computer science and mathematics programs over four years. The 32 Westminster students per year who qualify for these scholarships will receive $3,125 each academic year for up to four years.

"This is a significant grant for Westminster College," said Craig A. Green, financial aid officer for Westminster College. "We were thrilled to find that Westminster was awarded the maximum amount possible from NSF, especially when we were up against many of the largest colleges and universities across the country. This grant will help increase and retain the number of students studying computer science or mathematics, but most importantly, it will serve as valuable financial aid to Westminster's students."

The typical computer science major at Westminster is a non-traditional student who is working full-time. As a result, computer science courses that fulfill degree requirements are only offered in the evenings. Westminster's lack of day classes has proven frustrating to the growing number of traditional students. The computer science department has made it a priority to develop a full-time day schedule in support of traditional-age students. With the CSEMS scholarships, the college will be able to recruit more traditional-age students to create a full-time day program in computer science that complements the evening program.

"Our objective is to increase and retain the number of students studying computer science and mathematics," said Greg Gagne, assistant professor and program chair of computer science at Westminster College. "The CSEMS scholarships will allow the college to entice academically talented students to these programs, regardless of their age, financial background or progression in their academic career."

The NSF allowed for 10 percent of the grant to be allocated to administrative infrastructure costs. Instead of using this reserve, Westminster chose to utilize all of the money for scholarships and will forego utilizing the grant money to cover infrastructure costs.

"We want all of this money to go to students," Green said. "It may cost us a little more, but it's worth it for the college to spend extra funds on the computer science and mathematics programs to ensure their success."

Westminster College, Utah's only private, nondenominational, nonprofit college, prepares its 2,500 students for personal and professional success through a foundation of liberal education, combined with professional programs that include vital technological and communication skills. U.S. News & World Report has ranked Westminster in the top tier of regional colleges and universities in the Western United States for seven straight years.