New Rutgers scholarships aim to battle brain drain

Robert L. Barchi , Rutgers president, wrote an explanation of the initiatives. APRIL SAUL / Staff Photographer
Robert L. Barchi , Rutgers president, wrote an explanation of the initiatives. APRIL SAUL / Staff Photographer
Posted: February 19, 2014

Rutgers University will try to entice New Jersey's best and brightest to stay in-state with a new undergraduate merit scholarship that president Robert L. Barchi announced Monday.

The Henry Rutgers Merit Scholarship will be awarded to 100 undergraduates a year for each of the next four years in an attempt to reduce the flow of more than 30,000 students who leave the Garden State annually for college elsewhere. The scholarships will be available to freshmen entering in the fall of 2014.

"These Henry Rutgers Merit Scholarships will enable us to attract high-achieving students and to raise the academic profiles of our entire undergraduate student body without affecting funding streams for current merit and need-based scholarships," Barchi said in a memorandum to the university community.

The scholarships - $6,000 a year for four years - are one of several measures unveiled Monday as "Initiatives for the First 100 Days of the University Strategic Plan."

"These 100-day initiatives represent only the beginning of many projects that will emerge from the strategic plan, including developing a corporate partnership office, improving transportation logistics, and designing high-impact capital projects," Barchi wrote.

Rutgers' board of governors approved the five-year strategic plan this month. The series of initiatives announced Monday are intended to strengthen the university academically.

Included in those initiatives are:

A Presidential Graduate Fellowship available immediately to recruit outstanding graduate students. These five-year fellowships will provide students with an additional $15,000-a-year stipend, on top of the university's basic graduate fellowship packages.

A $750,000 fund to enhance student advising, career counseling, and academic support.

A new Henry Rutgers University Professor title to recruit or retain top scholars with increased compensation. The first group will be five endowed professorships, expanding to 30 over the next five years.

A new Henry Rutgers University Term Chair title with additional funding to recruit or retain midcareer professors, starting with five and expanding to 25.

A $1 million short-term fund to begin evaluating and strengthening academic support facilities.

Establishment of a faculty committee to examine the university's academic organization, including possible restructuring of schools or departments. The committee will also be tasked with making recommendations about possible new schools, like a school of veterinary science or architecture and design, Barchi's memo states.

The initiatives will be paid for with reserve funds, so existing programs will not be cut to pay for them, according to university officials.


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