The Marching Band scholarship was started five years ago when Lloyd Jacobs was the University of Toledo president. However, the university is now phasing out this source of financial aid.
The scholarship provides $1,000 each to every band member.
“The administration at the time said, ‘how can we grow the band? We’d like to see a bigger band. How can we help that happen? What are ways we can do that?’” said Andrew Rhodes, the director of athletic bands at UT.
One of the ways that appealed to the administration in 2012 was creating a scholarship, under what was the perceived financial status of the university and scholarship funds around at that time, Rhodes said.
The band grew from the 145 members before the scholarship to 250 members currently. However, this is not just from the scholarship, Rhodes said.
The band has played at more events in recent years such as at the Bands of America competitions and Sounds of the Stadium, a concert where the band plays all the music from the season, while also performing at different high schools in Ohio.
“It is a different era now with a different administration, with different financial realities for the university,” Rhodes said.
State funding has also changed the university’s funding, according to Rhodes.
“There were some changes that needed to be made university-wide in how we were awarding scholarships, and this [phasing out the scholarship] was one of the [changes],” Rhodes said.
The scholarship allowed a lot of band members to focus on school and the band when they otherwise would need to work to pay for school according to Rhodes. He is hoping to “grandfather out the people who are receiving the scholarship.”
“I understand why, but I don’t like it,” said second-year music education major Ashley Venrick. “The scholarship helped and now I have to find another way to pay for [college].”
People don’t come just for the scholarship; they come for the experience and because they enjoy it. The band practices for eight hours a week during the semester and participates in UT’s football game day activities, which can last for five hours or more. All of this work is for one credit hour, Rhodes said.
“I didn’t join marching band for the scholarship, but it helped,” said Hale Gerlica, a third-year early childhood education major.
UT Marching Band is looking for other possible benefits or a “defrayment scholarship,” but right now those are only ideas, Rhodes said.
“I am disappointed that [the scholarship] is going away, but that doesn’t mean we can’t find another solution,” Rhodes said.