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The Cowboy Commitment

January 8, 2020
man sitting at a desk with an open book
Trustee Scholar Ben Radosevich, pictured in Coe Library, is pleased UW is expanding financial awards to more deserving students.

New need- and merit-based financial awards make UW more affordable for the state’s students. 

By Micaela Myers 

As the cost of college skyrockets nationwide, high school students look more and more at the bottom line when deciding which university to attend. The University of Wyoming always ranks highly for in-state and out-of-state affordability, but this year, UW announced major commitments to make the university even more affordable for the state’s students.

Called the Cowboy Commitment, the awards include categories for in-state need-based aid, for merit-based aid and for Wyoming community college transfer students.

Connie Demple, the mother of a high school senior in Cody, Wyo., says, “We were already aware of the generous Hathaway Scholarship, but having this additional funding available makes it almost impossible not to choose UW.”


Increasing Educational Attainment

In 2018, Wyoming set high educational attainment goals to increase the number of citizens holding postsecondary certificates and degrees. Kyle Moore, associate vice provost for enrollment management, says the Cowboy Commitment helps move the state toward these attainment goals: “That effort supports the statewide conversation around attainment. It’s a recognition by the university and the Board of Trustees that UW was founded—and still exists—for the purpose of educating its citizens. The university is always looking for opportunities to increase that service and to expand its reach across the state. There was an opportunity to provide a clearer picture of how doable UW is in terms of attaining a college degree.”

UW Trustee Michelle Sullivan says, “I believe these awards will make it possible for more young people to earn a college degree in a more timely manner and without debt. Ultimately, I believe this will have long-term effects for the vitality of the Wyoming economy and its communities for generations—in my opinion, this is the aspiration reflected in the Wyoming constitution.”


Need-Based Aid

As part of the Cowboy Commitment, UW trustees allocated $1 million for need-based aid for first-year incoming Wyoming students.

“This is a big, bold response and recognition that there are incredible students across Wyoming who have need,” Moore says. “UW is going to respond by moving some resources into some areas that help those students consider UW for higher education.”

The aid is aimed at closing the gap between what the Hathaway Scholarship covers and the full cost of attendance—up to 81 percent.


Merit-Based Awards

The Cowboy Commitment includes new annual awards of $6,500, $3,500, $1,500 and $500 for Wyoming high school graduates based upon their academic performance.

For the highest-achieving Wyoming students with an ACT score of over 32 and a high school grade-point average (GPA) of at least 3.96, the university will provide an award of $6,500. That’s on top of what they receive from the state Hathaway Scholarship Program. Already, the UW Trustees’ Scholars Award program provides full tuition, room and board for approximately the top 100 Wyoming students, but this new award in a sense expands that program. It will cover those who meet the standard in the event they are not selected for the Trustees’ Scholars Award.

Current Trustees’ Scholar Ben Radosevich, a freshman from Casper, Wyo., is excited to see more students benefit: “The trustees’ scholarship is such an amazing award, but it benefits so few people. There are many other amazing students. They completely deserve to have the opportunity to go to college as well.”

Radosevich says that receiving the award helped seal his decision to come to UW. He hopes to one day become a doctor. As a Trustees Scholar, he’ll have the finances to pursue graduate school as well as education abroad.

“With college being basically free, it frees you up to do so much without having student loans,” he says.

The Cowboy Commitment doesn’t stop there. Wyoming students who have an ACT score of over 28 and a high school grade-point average of 3.88 each will receive a $3,500 award. Those with ACT scores of about 25 and GPAs of 3.69 will receive $1,500, and those with ACT scores of about 22 and GPAs of 3.26 will receive $500. In addition, there’s a new $4,000 award for up to 125 Wyoming community college transfer students with associate degrees, 75 or fewer academic credits and GPAs of at least 3.0.

Demple says, “My daughter is a good student, and her grades are great, but she has not done enough extracurricular activities that qualify her for many scholarships. The Cowboy Commitment money reflects that a good ACT and GPA is a valued asset to UW. Thank you for making her decision an easy one—expect to see her application for enrollment soon!”

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