The University of Chicago Centennial CataloguesThe University of Chicago FacultyLife on the QuadsUniversity and the CityThe Presidents of the University
Life on the Quads
A Centennial View of
the Student Experience at the
University of Chicago
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Two-year honors scholarship winners, 1930.

Two-year honors scholarship winners, 1930. In 1930, special scholarships were awarded to thirty-four entering male students on the basis of "intelligence, personality, leadership, and health." President Robert M. Hutchins is seated in the front row, fourth from the right.


Rhodes Scholars, 1928.

Rhodes Scholars, 1928. Three of the thirty Rhodes Scholarships awarded nationally in 1928 went to University students. From left to right are Assistant Professor of French Robert Valentine Merrill, John McDonough (PhB 1928), Eugene Goodwillie (G 1923, Lab School), and Bill Nash (Ex 1928)


The Student Body
African-American, Jewish, and foreign students often faced more open affronts from the campus culture, especially in student organizations, fraternities and women's clubs, and housing. But these minority members of the student body, like women, were not dissuaded. Along with the others who came to the Quadrangles to study - the commuting students from neighborhoods across the city of Chicago, the precocious second-year high school youths admitted to the Hutchins College during the 1930s and 1940s, the middle-aged Midwestern school teachers who registered for courses during the summer quarters - they were drawn to Chicago by the University's remarkable educational opportunities.

Scholarships and fellowships have been a key element in the University's effort to attract good students and to assist the most promising in completing degrees. Until the mid-1950s scholarships were granted mostly on the basis of grades and the candidate's performance on entrance exams. Letters of recommendation, community activities, interviews, and "personal promise" were also considered. Scholarships and supporting endowments became particularly important for students as tuition climbed. In 1930 President Robert M. Hutchins partially offset the rise in costs by providing scholarships for roughly 18 percent of incoming freshmen, then considered a high rate. By the time Lawrence A. Kimpton assumed the chancellorship in 1951, one of every three students received aid at an average of $631.97, equivalent to the annual cost of tuition and books. The criteria for receiving undergraduate scholarship assistance gradually changed, not only at Chicago but at private universities across the country, and by the late 1950s a student's financial need became the primary consideration in the distribution of almost all College aid. Today more than half of the students in the College receive scholarship assistance, and for those in the graduate divisions, where the criterion for aid is academic distinction, the figure is well above 90 percent.

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