By Dani Næss Hellesund
Scandinavian students have experienced some confusion over the past few weeks regarding their scholarships based on their Grade Point Average (GPA) requirements, and the relationship between LIU Post and their backer organizations. Backer organizations help international students through the process of finding and applying to an American college or university.
Swedish students, who came to Post with the backer organization Blueberry Worldwide, have discovered that their organization and LIU Post had ceased their affiliation. Some Norwegian students who came to Post with the Norwegian backer organization Study Outside Norway (SONOR) are getting anxious about the relationship between LIU Post and SONOR. The students are worried about the implications this may have for them in terms of scholarships and discounts.
Sofie Hoff, junior Fine Arts major, is from Sweden and attends Post through the backer organization Blueberry Worldwide. About a year ago, when Blueberry Worldwide stopped working with LIU Post, Hoff was not notified by anyone about the cessation of cooperation. Hoff learned about it through Blueberry Worldwide’s website, by coincidence. Hoff has not experienced any implications and said, “I was a little worried about my scholarship, but not for long.” Hoff adds that she still receives her LIU Post scholarship.
LIU Post and SONOR have an agreement that states that students ho come to Post with SONOR will receive a 25 percent discount and a LIU Post Scholarship of $6,000 a year ($3,000 per semester), if the students have a GPA of 3.0 or higher from high school or previously attended universities.
The LIU Post scholarship amount varies on an individual basis, depending on the student’s GPA. This semester, according to some students, the Bursar office told students who came to check on their finances that students who partnered with SONOR now need a GPA of 3.25 to receive their scholarship. Students who have informed the Bursar about the SONOR 3.0 requirement were told that they would not receive any scholarship unless they provided a document that proved that SONOR had a GPA limit of 3.0 from previous universities or high school education.
Kristoffer Eidissen, junior Business Management major, was one of the students who were asked to prove their GPA for the Bursar. When asked about the relationship between LIU Post and his backer organization, Eidissen said, “SONOR has not yet stopped backing me, that I know of, but there are rumors that they will stop cooperating with our school after Christmas, and that does not feel very good.”
Eidissen believes that it is unprofessional that the students do not get sufficient information about their backer organization and scholarships. When asked about what a termination of the cooperation between LIU Post and SONOR would mean to him, Eidissen replied, “There are not too many implications, but I do feel like Post and SONOR’s collaboration is worth critique. For example, Post raised the minimum GPA level to receive a scholarship with 0.25 points without notifying the students. This could have a lot of implications for students who depend on getting a certain amount of money to be able to study here.”
Kamilla Stoelen, International Student counselor at SONOR, said, “For Fall admission 2013, there has been no change in GPA requirement for Norwegian students, nor for scholarship applications.”
Several students have indicated that the Bursar has notified them that the GPA requirements have risen. However, Joanne Garziano, executive director of Student Financial Services, when asked whether or not the GPA had changed from 3.0 to 3.25 for international students, replied, “Not to my knowledge, no.”
Graziano also said that students who are facing problems should come to the Bursar’s office at Kumble Hall and talk to them. At further attempts to acquire more information about the GPA raise, the workers at the counter asked not to be named in The Pioneer, but said that the GPA was 3.25. Bursar asked that questions regarding the situation be sent by email, but Bursar has not yet responded.
The rumors regarding the relationship between LIU Post and SONOR are false according to Stoelen from SONOR. Stoelen said, “SONOR and LIU Post have a solid partnership that has lasted for several years. We are now working to continue this cooperation in order to secure the best interests of current and future students.”