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ExCEL Program (Excellence in Computing at Every Level)

Anchored by a multi-year $600,000 grant from the National Science Foundation (press release), the ExCEL program will provide scholarships and other services to academically talented students who are in need of financial support. This program will cultivate a community of scholars across all academic levels and a variety of computing-related degree programs. Scholarship awards are in the amount of $5,000 per year (and for graduate students also 9 credits of tuition remission, valued at over $7,000). Also note that this award can be combined with other financial aid granted by Loyola, which is typically substantial at the undergraduate level. (Each year's award will be disbursed in two halves near the beginning of Fall and Spring terms, contingent on continued eligibility.) Undergraduates may apply for renewal throughout their Senior year, subject to availability of funds and other selection criteria. Questions, after reading the information below, may be directed to the ExCEL program director, Dr. Ronald Greenberg.

New Applicants

Eligibility Requirements

During any semester in which funds will be received, students must

  • Be citizens of the United States, nationals of the United States (as defined in section 101(a) of the Immigration and Nationality Act), aliens admitted as refugees under section 207 of the Immigration and Nationality Act, or aliens lawfully admitted to the United States for permanent residence.
  • Be enrolled full time in a degree program offered by the Department of Computer Science (including programs that are joint with other Arts and Sciences departments). Eligible degree programs are:
    • B.S. in Bioinformatics, Communications Networks and Security, Computer Science, Computer Science and Mathematics, Computer Science and Physics, Information Technology, or Software Development (See Undergraduate Programs.)
    • M.S. in Computer Science, Software Technology, or Information Technology (See Graduate Programs.)
  • Demonstrate financial need, defined for undergraduate students by the US Department of Education rules for need-based Federal financial aid, or, for graduate students, defined as financial eligibility for Graduate Assistance in Areas of National Need (GANN).

    Financial need is defined for undergraduates by the U.S. Department of Education as the Cost of Attendance (COA) for an institution minus the Estimated Family Contribution (EFC) for the student (see U.S. Dept. of Education guide). The Cost of Attendance, determined by each educational institution, is the total amount it will cost a student to go to school, including tuition and fees; on-campus room and board (or a housing and food allowance for off-campus students); allowances for books, supplies, transportation, loan fees, dependent care, costs related to a disability; and miscellaneous expenses. The Estimated Family Contribution is determined by the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form and represents the expected family contribution toward the Cost of Attendance.

    The Loyola Office of Student Financial Assistance will verify that the ExCEL scholarship plus other financial assistance will not exceed the student's federally defined financial need. (See instructions for applying for financial assistance at Loyola.)

  • Graduate students must have at least 15 credits of work remaining to degree completion at the beginning of the Fall term in which they will begin to receive scholarship funds.

 

Selection Process and Criteria

Once the above eligibility criteria are satisfied, selection of scholarship recipients will focus on academic merit and career and leadership potential. However, the selection committee may also consider such issues as diversity of student interests and demographics. Also, in the case of graduate students, there is a preference for students who do not have an undergraduate computing degree, so that they must take some courses in common with undergraduates. Any student meeting the eligibility criteria in the section above may apply, but it is generally expected that most successful applicants will meet at least the following academic threshholds:

Type of Student Criteria
Incoming Freshman 3.2 high school GPA (on a 4-point scale) AND
24 ACT composite or 1100 combined SAT (Math and Verbal)
Incoming Graduate 3.0 undergraduate GPA (on a 4-point scale)
Current Frosh. or Soph.
(including transfers)
undergrad GPA and other available information as above

Entering students should list a major/program corresponding to the ExCEL-eligible degrees on their application for admission, and students already enrolled at Loyola must have declared an appropriate major. The following deadlines apply:

Date Requirement
February 1 Applicants for undergraduate ExCEL scholarships who are not already admitted to Loyola must submit undergraduate admission application (free online).
February 1 Graduate ExCEL applicants must submit graduate admission application (free online).
February 15 Submit ExCEL application.

Additionally, you must be sure that Loyola's Office of Student Financial Assistance will have your current FAFSA data.

Use the following links to complete an ExCEL application (also free):

 

Renewals

Undergraduates who hold an ExCEL scholarship and will need at least two more semesters of full-time study to complete their degrees (after the Spring term in which applications are processed) may apply for renewal.

Renewal applicants may begin by noting that the basic eligibility criteria above remain applicable. Furthermore, continuing undergraduate students must meet all requirements of the "Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy" of Loyola's Office of Student Financial Assistance, which is contained in the "Student Financial Assistance Handbook" (available at http://www.luc.edu/finaid/forms.shtml). Meeting these requirements does not by any means guarantee renewal of an ExCEL scholarship, however. In particular, higher GPAs will generally be expected, specifically at least 2.5 overall and at least 3.0 in the major.

Students seeking renewal of an ExCEL scholarship must complete a brief form here. Remember also to update your FAFSA information with the Office of Student Financial Assistance.