Scholarships for C Students

W. Hall Wendel Jr., the former chairman and chief executive of Polaris Industries, is giving $1.5 million to fund scholarships to high school students can go to college. But, well, he’s not too worried about their grades.

According to an article by Melanie Grayce West in the Wall Street Journal:

The partial college scholarships will go toward tuition and books and be awarded based on a student’s character, leadership and community involvement, not solely on a student’s academic record. In short, Mr. Wendel says he isn’t focused on scholarships for students at the top of the class, but on everyone else.

“I focus on the C or C-plus students because that’s what I was. I really didn’t apply myself in high school,” says Mr. Wendel. “I think the C or C-plus students are usually very, very capable but are very, very unlikely to receive a scholarship. As my partner in business used to say, ‘A mop can flop either way.’ They can strive and be successful or, unfortunately, it can go the other way.”

Sure there’s no guarantee that C students will succeed later on, but there’s not necessarily any reason to think they’ll fail.

He’s giving the money to graduates of urban schools, in this case the Promise Academy charter school operated by the Harlem Children’s Zone.

Wendel has apparently been giving scholarships like these since the 1980s. No word yet on whether or not these students tend to be more or less successful than the A students who usually get academic scholarships.

Daniel Luzer

Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer