Malpas Scholars Program helps students attend DePauw

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In that shadow of several prominent academic programs lies the Malpas Scholars Program, a scholarship program that few make up, yet that does so much.
A man named Rolla M. Malpas, who never actually attended college or finished high school, set up the scholarship program.
He came into a lot of wealth later in life and wanted to give the youth of Indiana an opportunity he did not have: a college education.
He chose DePauw specifically because he believed it was where students could get the best education.
In contrast to programs like Media Fellows and Management Fellows, the Malpas Scholars Program does not have a seminar each semester. In fact, there are no classes at all required to be a member. The program focuses more on giving students the full academic experience that DePauw has to offer.
In order to stay a part of the program, Malpas Scholarship recipients are required to maintain a 3.25 grade point average. Though this seems difficult, board members select only students they believe will be able to do so.
The program has had to let students go in the past, however. Because of this, the board attempts to get students that had exceptionally high grade point averages in high school, as well as those that did well on their standardized tests.
Students of the program are barred from holding a job while on campus in order to better maintain their grades.
The Malpas program is a highly competitive scholarship program that only a select few students receive each year.
“I wish the Malpas board could afford to do more,” said Craig Slaughter, director of financial aid. “I know of one member attempting to get that in the works.”
The application is available to high school seniors. To qualify, the student must be born in Indiana, have parents who are both United States citizens, attended a public high school, had at least a B+ average while in high school and show significant financial need.
The Financial Aid office looks at applications from high school seniors, then sends them forward to the board. The board chooses its top five or six applicants and requests that they come to campus for interviews.
“It is an outside board that looks for the scholars,” Slaughter said.
After the interviews, the board makes their selections. They only select the ones they believe will do the most while at DePauw University, maintain their grade point average and continue to be involved even after the end of their four years at DePauw.
“It certainly is a tremendous opportunity for the student that receives it,” Slaughter said. “People confuse it as a full ride. It is a full need scholarship, so Malpas Scholars do have to pay their family contribution each year”
The average amount of financial aid received is well over $40,000 for each of the recipients.
Many of the students in the program would not be at DePauw if not for the generous grants that are given with the Rolla M. Malpas Scholarship.
In the case of sophomore Jessica Keister, the Malpas Scholars Program helped her tremendously.
“In my case it was full tuition,” Keister said. “They were very generous.”
Junior Erin Minnick also felt the same gratitude towards the program.
“I wasn’t originally going to be able to afford DePauw,” Minnick said. “I started searching online and found this scholarship available. I wouldn’t have been here without it.”
In 2008 when the recession hit, the program hit a slight bump. Since the money is invested, their funds took a plunge and the program could only have one scholar per year for a time.
The program is back on its feet now, however, and has been able to give three students the money they need for the last two years.
“It feels like there is some new energy with Malpas,” Slaughter said. “They got a new logo and one board member is working on fundraising. The next step is to develop a society of past Malpas Scholars to connect with them and feel like part of a larger legacy.
Malpas Scholars do not necessarily get to know one other very well like members of other programs on campus. The program forces students to focus on their academics, but apart from that attempts to take a back seat and let the students grow on their own.
“I know a couple [other Malpas Scholars] by chance,” Keister said, “but we don’t have monthly workshops or meetings.”
The program does, however, gather all of the scholars on campus once a semester to meet each other over lunch in the fall and dinner in the spring. The get-togethers give the Scholars a chance to meet the people who were in charge of selecting them, including Slaughter.
The board meets once a semester to discuss the program’s future around the same time as the meals.
In addition to covering all financial need bases, the scholarship also covers the scholars’ study abroad ambitions.
First-year Charles Weber hopes to take full advantage of this.
“I hope to go to Spain,” Weber said. “I wouldn’t be able to without the scholarship.”
Erin Minnick went to Australia during this past Winter Term for her opportunity.
Sophomore Damon Hyatt took advantage of the opportunity and studied abroad in China.
“The Malpas Scholars program has opened doors for me that I could have never imagined,” Hyatt said. “In no way, shape or form could I have gone to DePauw University, let alone spent three weeks in China, without the program’s gratitude and full financial assistance. Honestly, in my opinion, I stumbled upon the best opportunity at DePauw, and I couldn’t be more thankful for it.”