General Motors has discontinued its national scholarship competition in favor of a plan to give more scholarship aid through individual colleges and universities. The new plan will reduce the number of students at Harvard on GM scholarships from a previous high of 33 to 4 in any one class.
Starting this year, General Motors expanded by 25 the number of colleges awarding GM scholarships, and sponsored an additional 57 scholarships at colleges which already participate in the program.
Until 1962, General Motors had awarded scholarships through a College Plan, in which individual colleges selected the scholarship winners, and a National Plan, in which GM selected the winners through a national competition. National scholarships could be used at the college of the student's choice.
H.S. McFarland, director of personnel services at GM, explained that under the latter plan, winners of national scholarships tended to concentrate in a small number of select colleges, like Harvard in an effort to include more colleges in the program, GM imposed in 1960 a quota on the number of national winners that any one institution could have.
The quota system lowered the number of national GM scholars at Harvard from 31 to eight. However the University felt that the quota discriminated against very able students who might have been awarded GM scholarships if they had gone to another college, and President Pusey formally objected to the quota system in a letter to General Motors.
Because of this and similar objections, and because GM felt it was not getting the proper distribution of its scholarship funds, the decision was made to abandon the national plan and to increase the number of institutions participating in the college plan, McFarland said.
At the same time, GM is greatly expanding its unrestricted grants to colleges and universities through increased gifts to the 40 regional associations of colleges in the country.
New Program Termed Improvement
Although the abandonment of the national plan will mean a reduction in the amount of outside scholarship aid available to Harvard students, Henry P. Briggs '54, director of Freshman Scholarships, said the new program was a definite improvement over the old one, because it will enable more needy students to attend college and will distribute the available funds more equitably.
Briggs said he did not think the College would have any trouble replacing the funds lost by the abandonment of the national plan.