UAB to offer new AP-related scholarships to Birmingham City School seniors

The University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) has developed a new Advanced Placement (AP) Scholarship Program for Birmingham City School System seniors, using income generated from an endowed fund made possible by an anonymous $4 million cash gift designated for scholarships for women and minorities.

The first students to participate in the program will be eligible to receive their scholarships for the fall 2011 term, said UAB President Carol Garrison.

"We will now be able to offer full tuition and fee four-year scholarships to up to 20 deserving students each year, and one-time awards of $1,000 each to up to 50 students each year," Garrison said. "This AP-related program would not be possible without the generosity of our unknown benefactor and the hard work and collaboration of UAB Provost Eli Capilouto and Birmingham City Schools Superintendent Dr. Craig Witherspoon and their teams, and we are very appreciative of them all.

"UAB is delighted to offer this sort of opportunity to the ambitious and college-ready young men and women of the city we call home," Garrison said. "They are the leaders and scholars of tomorrow."

Of UAB's approximately 17,000 students, some 60 percent are women, and 29 percent are minorities. In 2009, The Princeton Review ranked UAB third in the nation in the Lots of Race/Class Interaction category, which rates campus social and ethnic diversity and interaction between students of various backgrounds.

Birmingham Mayor William A. Bell Sr. applauded UAB and the Birmingham City Schools on working together to create an innovative program that will benefit the city's residents.

"The City of Birmingham recognizes that educating our young people today will equip them for whatever their tomorrows hold," Bell said. "We have long been proud to point to UAB as an incredible resource for our community, and this is yet another example of the leadership and commitment to Birmingham shown by the university."

UAB received the anonymous gift in May 2009; it totaled $5 million. Of that, the funds not used for scholarships ($1 million) are to be used for strategic initiatives that emerge from ongoing campuswide discussions related to planning for the future of the university's academic, research and health care enterprise. The gift was similar to those announced by other universities during the same time frame. All scholarships and programs related to the gift will be funded with earnings generated from its investment.

Capilouto, whose office has oversight responsibility for all academics at UAB, said the new scholarship program will offer students the chance to pursue an Advanced Placement Achievement Award or an Advanced Placement Recognition Award.

"The AP Achievement Award winners will be guaranteed that the cost of tuition and fees will be met with gift aid, and the award is renewable for four years based on its terms and conditions," Capilouto said. "To qualify, students who are, or have enrolled in two or more AP courses must apply and be admitted to UAB by March 1 of their senior year for consideration.

"Students who earn grades of B or higher in all AP coursework and a score of 3 or higher on a minimum of two subsequent AP exams will be considered for this award," he said.

Qualifications for the AP Recognition award, a $1,000 one-time scholarship, are similar; however, students do not have to earn the score of 3 or higher on the minimum number of subsequent exams to be considered for the award.

The school system's Witherspoon said the number of students taking AP courses in the Birmingham City Schools has increased dramatically in the last few years, especially because of the A+ College Ready grant the system received last year.

"We anticipate even more growth in AP enrollment, and this scholarship program will give our students a greater incentive to take on the challenge of AP courses," Witherspoon said. "This is a wonderful collaboration that will help our students realize their dreams."

Applications for this award will be available Oct. 1, 2010, for students applying to UAB for the fall 2011 term. At that time, students and their families should visit the UAB website at to learn more.