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Lincoln University has raised more money than initially anticipated during a re-launched fundraising campaign that's primarily for scholarships, and on Thursday, new scholarship opportunities for students were approved.

LU's Board of Curators also approved a new certificate program in public history, accepted LU's annual financial audit and approved a redesign of the school's website at the board's Thursday meeting.

LU's President Jerald Jones Woolfolk reported at the meeting the school has raised $1.25 million so far for a fund campaign that had an initial goal of $1.2 million.

Woolfolk said this year's fund campaign that kicked off in July is the first in many years — expected to be annual — and the campaign has a stretch goal of raising $1.5 million.

LU spokeswoman Misty Young later added the fund campaign is mostly for scholarships, and money collected beyond the initial goal of $1.2 million will mean more money available for scholarships.

The Board of Curators also approved changes to an existing scholarship and created a new scholarship.

The existing Heart of Missouri Scholarship is for students who reside and are high school graduates in the Mid-Missouri area — Boone, Callaway, Cole, Cooper, Howard, Maries, Miller, Moniteau, Morgan and Osage counties.

Marcus Chanay, vice president for Student Affairs and Enrollment Management, recommended the Board of Curators approve a change to the eligibility requirements for the scholarship.

The previous requirements were that a student maintain a 3.0 grade point average in high school and at LU and score at least an 18 out of 36 on the ACT. The eligibility requirements the Board of Curators approved are for a 2.5 GPA in high school and at LU, and a score of at least 17 on the ACT.

LU has a dedicated admissions recruiter for 30 Mid-Missouri high schools, and Chanay said 62 students received the Heart of Missouri scholarship this fall.

Students with the scholarship receive $1,000 per semester for up to eight consecutive semesters, not including summers, but the scholarship cannot be combined with Curators, Presidential, Institutional, Dean's or Employee tuition benefits.

The same grade and test score eligibility requirements and use restrictions apply to the new Lincoln University Excel Scholarship that the Board of Curators approved Thursday, for which graduates of any Missouri high school are eligible.

The board also approved a new certificate program in public history that Alphonso Sanders, provost and vice president for Academic Affairs, said is part of redesigning the school's history program to make it more marketable for students who are looking to get a job out of it.

Sanders said the new certificate program will not require hiring more staff, and it's possible the program will be available in the fall of 2020.

The program is designed to help undergraduate history majors establish careers as a historian in various job settings, and it includes an internship component. But it also is designed for people who may not have a degree to gain knowledge in the subject matter or enhance their careers.

"The online potential of it is great, too," Sanders said.

The Board of Curators accepted the audited financial report for the 2019 fiscal year from Baird, Kurtz and Dobson, LLP.

Matt Cash, BKD's Springfield office director, said the audit was clean — meaning it contained no misstatements — and while the audit does contain data on LU's collection of tuition and fees and student enrollment over the past 10 years, the report does not make recommendations on how to increase enrollment or fee collection. Cash was asked that question by Board of Curators President Frank Logan Sr.

With the aim of being more attractive to potential students, the Board of Curators also approved an overhaul of LU's website through a company called Beacon.

Sandy Koetting, LU's vice president for administration and finance, said some preliminary work has been completed already, and the hope is to have a redesigned website launched by this summer.

Paid for with federal Title III grant funds designated for technology usage, the website update will cost $174,000 for the contract with Beacon, plus another $150,000-$175,000 for the redesigned website's content management system.

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