Merit-Based Scholarships: Why Not at Jesuit?

The Big Idea

Jesuit High School has been known for its strong academics and outstanding sports programs while not offering Merit-Based Scholarships.

So why has Jesuit not started to offer Merit-Based Scholarships?

One obvious reason why Jesuit has never offered Athletic Scholarships is the lack of necessity. Jesuit sports programs have always been some of the best in the Greater Sacramento Area, and they are still solid. Jesuit has never needed to offer scholarships to athletes in order to attract them, as the reputation of this school speaks for itself.

The key reason, though, that Jesuit has never offered Athletic Scholarships, and may not in the future, is because it would compromise the principles of Jesuit.

Jesuit is not only competitive athletically, but the Administration also works very hard to cultivate a strong academic culture. Offering potential students free education solely based on their athletic abilities and not putting an emphasis on their grades would completely go against this ideal.

“The bottom line is we want student athletes,” said Athletic Director Mr. Greg Harcos ‘89.

Jesuit does not want to give students the opportunity to misinterpret a scholarship as an obligation to focus solely on the reason for the scholarship, be it athletics or academics. Students should come to Jesuit looking to expand their interests and improve themselves in many fields.

The final reason why athletic scholarships are not offered is because athletic scholarships are exceedingly difficult to award while staying within CIF regulations. It is against these regulations to offer scholarships to students before they have been accepted because this could be viewed as undue influence.

Why not just offer academic scholarships?

If scholarships awarded based on athletics are a bad idea, why not offer academic scholarships?

Jesuit has always had a proud history of excellent academics. This academic reputation alone is enough to attract many kids to choose the Jesuit route. Offering academic based scholarships seems like it would be able to avoid contradicting Jesuit morals and values; however, some glaring issues with academic scholarships still exist.

There are many students who may be turned away by Jesuit if the switch was made to Merit-Based Scholarships simply because their grades would not qualify them for an academic scholarship. This would limit the overall diversity of our campus and the diverse interests of the  student body at Jesuit is great.

“If anything, scholarships should help to create diversity in our campus more so than improve athletics,” said Mr. Harcos.

The biggest argument against Jesuit offering Merit-Based Scholarships is that the current financial-aid system is purely need based, and does not take athletics or academics into account. Allocating funds based on need instead of merit frees up more money for students who may not qualify for Merit-Based Scholarships.

“We want to make sure that, as much as possible, we can allow [students] to attend and not have finances become an impediment to attendance,” said Principal Mr. Michael Wood ‘99.

The Bottom Line

Jesuit does not offer any Merit-Based Scholarships and ultimately will probably never offer Merit-Based Scholarships. There are too many potential issues, including the possibility of compromising Jesuit’s core values.

Offering scholarships based on anything other than need, such as athletic or academic performance, would put students in a box. If a student is receiving a scholarship he could feel obligated to devote himself to that sport or academic subject only and not expand his horizons.

“[Students] need to be free to come to this place and explore whatever they want,” said Mr. Wood.