By Lucinda Ryan

Correspondent

More local high school graduates than before may have a chance at a college education as a result of Holy Names University's policy changes.

Come fall, Holy Names will guarantee freshmen high school students admission and a scholarship, with the conditions that they graduate high school and are from the Oakland Unified or West Contra Costa school districts or partner schools within the Oakland Catholic Archdiocese. The students also must pass a prescribed list of high school courses, maintain a minimum 2.7 grade-point average (below the university's average admission rate of 3.18) and take precollegiate counseling. They can then receive a minimum $9,000 scholarship.

This Early Admissions Program will not require participating students to take national standardized tests.

Tuition and fees at HNU for the 2011-12 year will be $30,390. The average room boarding cost is $10,090. Students who demonstrate academic proficiency beyond the minimum requirements and/or financial need will be eligible for more tuition assistance.

"Our intention is to combine HNU scholarships and grants with state and federal grants to cover most, if not all, of the tuition for students with high financial need," said Brian O'Rourke, Dean of Admissions and Recruitment. "Students who are especially successful in high school, as reflected in a higher GPA or other honors and who demonstrate particular financial need, will likely qualify for additional Holy Names financial aid. Unlike student loans, this financial aid does not have to be paid back."


Advertisement

Holy Names President William Hynes said the new program eliminates barriers between students and their ability to go to college.

"The most inhibiting is the perception that they cannot ever get into college," he stated. "We wish to mitigate the economic barrier that can block them from going to college and eliminate the cost and time of the national tests, which many educators think are biased against urban students."

The university will work with schools such as Castlemont and Skyline in their outreach to urban students. There is no cap on the number of scholarships to be awarded.

As part of the EA program, participating high schools' college and career centers will partner initially with similar HNU counseling efforts to provide college preparatory programming as well as mentoring and tutoring programs. Beginning in the 12th grade, counseling assistance will also be provided for career planning, college searching and the financial aid application process.

Holy Names also offers full scholarships to top academic performers and partial, athletic and music scholarships, plus other financial programs for students.

For details about the Early Admissions Program contact Tammy Dain,

510-436-1368 or dain@hnu.edu.