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Nirali Patel, BHS'04, expanded her knowledge of drug interactions and applications while on co-op at the MetroWest Medical Center. Her co-op success helped earn her a prestigious Presidential Scholarship.

Presidential Scholarships Support Student Excellence

Nirali Patel, BHS'04, knew she wanted to pursue a pharmacy degree after high school. "I chose Northeastern for its strength in this field and the practical experience provided by the co-op program," says Patel.

During the last decade, the average SAT score among enrolled freshman has risen by 150 points, and the freshman to graduation retention rate has increased by 10 percent.

By the end of her sophomore year, Patel had the highest grade point average in her class and had completed three co-ops to rave reviews from her supervisors.

She also was active in student life as treasurer of the pharmacy student council and a dancer in cultural programs sponsored by UTSAV, an organization for Indian student. These achievements earned her a coveted Presidential Scholarship.

Initiated by President Richard M. Freeland in 1997, the Presidential Scholars Program recognizes students who excel in the three facets of a Northeastern education: liberal arts, professional studies, and co-op.

Scholarships are awarded annually to twelve exceptional students, and cover full tuition for their middler, junior and senior years. The application and selection process is intense. In 2002, 350 students applied.

Scholarships and other types of financial aid are critical to Northeastern's ability to attract and retain talented students. In recent years, Northeastern has increased its commitment to offer more financial assistance to promising students from all economic backgrounds.

This commitment is paying off. During the last decade, for example, the average SAT score among enrolled freshman has risen by 150 points, and the freshman to graduation retention rate has increased by 10 percent.

Presidential Scholarships are particularly important because they recognize and support the highest-achieving students at Northeastern. "My scholarship provided great recognition of the work I'm doing and has opened doors for me," says Michael Lovette, AS'05, a Presidential Scholar and chemical engineering major. "It has also helped me to stay in school by providing tuition relief for my parents."

Patel agrees. "Students need to be challenges and supported. By honoring our hard work and achievements, the Presidential Scholarships encourage our best efforts."

The Presidential Scholars Program is made possible by the generous support of alumni and friends. Benefactors include individual alumni, as well as the Class of 1943. Most recently, an anonymous alumnus committed $300,000 to Northeastern to endow a thirteenth Presidential Scholarship.

"Making it possible for strong students to complete their education at Northeastern is critical to our efforts to join the nation's top one hundred universities," says Freeland. "We are immensely grateful to donors who are supporting this effort by funding Presidential Scholarships."

Students Support is the largest single priority of the $200 million Leadership Campaign.

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  This article appeared in the may 2003 issue of Northeastern University Magazine.          

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