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University of Utah launches scholarship for all Utah valedictorians, salutatorians

University of Utah President Taylor Randall and Olympus High School Principal Jen Christensen talk at the Holladay school.
University of Utah President Taylor Randall, left, and Olympus High School Principal Jen Christensen talk after announcing a new scholarship for valedictorians and salutatorians during an event the school in Holladay on Monday, Dec. 13, 2021. The Guarantee scholarship will offer aid to at least 700 Utah students.
Scott G Winterton, Deseret News

University of Utah President Taylor Randall on Monday was back at his alma mater Olympus High School in Holladay to announce the launch of the Guarantee scholarship.

The scholarship, which has the potential to support about 700 of Utah's most academically prepared students, will be awarded to any valedictorian and salutatorian graduate admitted to the U. as a first-time freshman who is a resident of Utah.

"We are pleased to offer this scholarship opportunity to the most academically talented high school students in the state," Randall said. "They have worked hard to be at the top of their class, and this guaranteed scholarship can help them continue their education at the state's flagship institution."

Valedictorian graduates will receive $8,000 annually for four years for a total of $32,000. Salutatorians will receive $6,000 annually for four years for a total of $24,000. Recipients must be enrolled full-time, maintain a cumulative GPA of 3.5 or higher, and maintain Utah residency.

Keeping Utah high school graduates in state to pursue higher education is a priority of the U., Randall said.

"We want to be the university for Utah — meaning we're the school of choice for all Utahns — and we're putting together sets of scholarship packages that try to address the need of all Utahns," Randall said. "The Guarantee scholarship is really about those that are most prepared to come to college in the state of Utah, and we want it to be available to all Utahns at every high school."

Olympus High School Principal Jen Christensen, left, and University of Utah President Taylor Randall, and talk after announcing a new scholarship for valedictorians and salutatorians during an event the school in Holladay on Monday, Dec. 13, 2021. The Guarantee scholarship will offer aid to at least 700 Utah students.
Olympus High School Principal Jen Christensen, left, and University of Utah President Taylor Randall, and talk after announcing a new scholarship for valedictorians and salutatorians during an event the school in Holladay on Monday, Dec. 13, 2021. The Guarantee scholarship will offer aid to at least 700 Utah students.
Scott G Winterton, Deseret News

"The Guarantee allows us to further expand access to a degree from the U. for students from every corner of the state of Utah," said Steve Robinson, senior vice president for enrollment management. "If you've maintained great grades and achieved the honor of being valedictorian or salutatorian of your high school graduating class, we want to reward that focus and determination and help you complete your degree at one of the top research universities in the nation."

If a student qualifies for more than one merit award, they will be given the award of greatest value. Additionally, recipients will receive a one-time $1,000 award to further their academic pursuits through study abroad opportunities, research projects and more. That award will be available for students after they reach sophomore standing.

"As students come here, they'll be engaged in actually discovering new knowledge, whether it be in the labs or out in the field, and we do that at a bigger scale and a higher magnitude than any other university in the state. If you think about hands-on learning, this is the place you want to come to do it," Randall said.

Randall encouraged students attending schools without valedictorian or salutatorian designations to ask their high school counselor to contact the U.'s Office of Admissions to find alternative ways of consideration for the scholarship opportunity.

Further details on the Guarantee are available at admissions.utah.eu/the-guarantee.

The Guarantee comes just two years after the U. established the For Utah Scholarship, which provides a fully funded path to a degree for Utah's Pell Grant-eligible first-time freshmen.