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Editorial: Dean's Scholarship Challenge a great idea

By Editorial Board
On March 8, 2012

  • In this Sept. 24, 2013 file photo, students work on wood printing. If the new policies are passed, they would require UConn undergraduates to earn 90 in-residence credits to graduate instead of just 30.

In a world where entrepreneurial success has continually overshadowed academic achievement, and where college tuition prices are on the rise, many in academia are trying to find a way to highlight the merit of a college education. One school attempting this is the University of New Haven and their recently implemented Dean's Scholarship Challenge.

This challenge, created by former Mastercard advertising executive Larry Flanagan who is responsible for the famous "Priceless" campaign, offers incoming freshmen a chance to win free tuition if they can invent the next great business idea. Applicants must create a Facebook page in which they outline their business idea, including a company overview and information about what makes their idea interesting or unique. The program will have up to four winners, each to receive $120,000 in tuition for their idea as well as a chance to cultivate their idea throughout their undergraduate career. The university and its resources will aid the students. In addition, twenty students will win Apple iPads as a consolation prize. Following that, another fifty students will receive $250 in credit to the university bookstore.

Academic officials hope that this challenge will lure the great thinkers of our country into the classroom, rather than allow them to try and make a break for the boardroom. The great ideas of the world shouldn't automatically be fast-tracked to prominence. What Flanagan is trying to prove with this competition is that academia isn't necessarily detrimental to good ideas. In fact, university resources pair rather well with entrepreneurial ideas for businesses. Hopefully other universities will adopt similar strategies to encourage people to have and foster these ideas through a college education, rather than hitting the market straight out of high school. Flanagan is making an effort to ensure that the driving force behind invention in this country does not stop at a good idea, but is researched and developed so our good ideas have education to support them. This is a concept and way of thinking that we hope the rest of the country's universities will be willing to adopt.

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