Students may be offered fifth year free of tuition to pursue passion

Both tickets for Student Government (SG) Executive Board want to give students the option to attend the university for a fifth year free.

Although the Inspired by U ticket calls the scholarship “Take 5” and Think B.I.G. calls it “Plus 1,” both plans are modeled after the Take 5 Scholars Program in place at the University of Rochester.

At Rochester, students can apply for an additional semester or year, free of academic tuition. The application goes to a review board of faculty members, deans, and an actual student who is a current Take 5 Scholars.

“Students are the best judges of what is best for the program,” said Parker Barnett, presidential candidate on the Think B.I.G. ticket.

The fifth year can be used to study abroad or explore a new major or minor, but should not be used for personal gain. Any student who has completed at least one semester at the university and has at least one full semester left is eligible to apply. These degrees will appear on a student’s transcript and will count toward their GPA.

The scholarship will only cover tuition and not the student activities fee, room and board, and textbooks.

“When this idea was pitched to us, we asked around about it and the idea seems to be well liked by all students we have spoken to,” said Nawara Alawa, presidential candidate on the Inspired by U ticket.

At Rochester, Take Five is not an opportunity to earn additional credentials, but is a chance for students to “indulge in studying a topic of interest, to learn for the sake of learning, without the concern that it will make him or her a better job or graduate school applicant,” according to their website.

“I see a student who has a passion, who likes to take control of their education, who takes in and appreciates every second they have here at this university and realizes it’s not enough,” Alawa said.

She hopes to start off with a pilot group of about 20 students to transition this program to the university.

Both Alawa and Barnett said that they hope the program could start with the fall 2012 semester, but it depends on how long it takes for all details to be approved.

“We want to get this as fast as possible but we don’t want to cut corners,” Barnett said.