Scholarships Shouldn’t Be Exclusive

At California Lutheran University, undergraduate students are given the opportunity to apply for scholarships until March 30 for the 2017-2018 academic year. They are provided by donors who list criteria that students must meet in order to obtain the scholarship.

Out of 58 Cal Lutheran scholarships currently available, 22 scholarships are awarded based on a number of factors, with religion being one of them.

Even though our university is Lutheran-affiliated, students do not have to be Lutheran in order to be admitted into the school. With this taken into consideration, there should be scholarships that are available to everyone despite their religious background or affiliation.

For example, the “Alma and David Stoeve Scholarship Fund,” featured on the Cal Lutheran scholarship website, will be awarded to a student who practices the Lutheran faith and intends to be a part of the Christian ministry.

Even though several of these scholarships do not require a student to be Lutheran, it is insinuated that Lutheran students have a greater chance of obtaining certain scholarships.

The “Clifford and Leona Bangsund Scholarship” states that it is, “designated for an international student with preference given to Lutherans.”

Michael Elgarico, director of Undergraduate Admission, said that everyone is welcome at Cal Lutheran. This, of course, goes without saying. What matters more is whether this inclusive environment gives an equal opportunity to all students, regardless of faith.

“One of the great things about Cal Lutheran is that we’re an inclusive institution so that you do not have to be of any faith to enroll here,” Elgarico said.

Even though students are encouraged to be open about their faith, they are not treated equally with regard to scholarships. I believe there should be scholarships available to everyone, despite their faith. Other factors should be taken into consideration, like grades and leadership experience.

“We look for leaders and people who have done community service because it shows that they have an altruistic side of them,” Elgarico said.

Students can be involved on campus without being a part of religious organizations. They can make a difference in their community in more ways than one. At Cal Lutheran, all religions are accepted, as there are a number of international students that provide a new perspective.

The university’s website states, “our students come from more than 35 countries and embody a wide variety of faiths.”

Since there are so many international students that come from a variety of backgrounds, they should be able to apply to the same amount of scholarships as those who practice a particular religion. Many people rely on scholarships to pay for their college education, so they should have the same opportunities.

Kate Artmann
Staff Writer