DENVER (CBS4) – It’s a scholarship that has helped 4,100 students get a full-ride through college, but now some people are concerned with changes to the Daniels Scholarship application.
“I don’t know the purpose of the questions that are on there. It seems like you have to take a side politically and then back it up,” said former scholar Royer Lopez.
The 51-page application has put an importance on patriotism and capitalism according to the Daniel’s Fund. But people are concerned with questions like being proud to be an American, and whether differences in social standing are an incentive to work harder.
Another asks, “which image evokes the strongest positive emotion.” The choices to answer from are a Canadian, Mexican, American flag or a burning American Flag or an upside-down American Flag.
“That’s not a question you should be asking a kid applying for a scholarship,” Lopez said.
The Daniel’s Fund says it has given out $190 million in scholarship in the past 19 years. The website for the scholarship says it’s looking for kids with high character and leaders.
“Bill Daniels was a patriotic American. He loved this country,” said Bo Peretto. “He was looking for Daniels scholars who loved this country as well.”
Peretto says the application is evaluated every year.
“There tends to be an anti-business sentiment at some campus and as we looked at our scholarship, given the time, and given we’ve been around for 20 years, I think it was an important time to reflect on, ‘Is our application getting at all the things that were important to Bill Daniels?’” he said. “We’re still going to get at character, leadership qualities, the love for America, and the love for business because that’s who Bill Daniels was.”
The application process closed last Friday. Whispers had been circulating for a few weeks that the questions on this year’s application were different and even offending some applicants. But the scholarship price is too high for some to speak out.
“You might be discouraging the right people from applying for a scholarship that really need it,” said Lopez.
The flag question bothered him the most. He was born in the United States, but his parents were undocumented until recently. His graduation cap represented both his patriotism and heritage.
“I had both American and Mexican flag, and I embody both because my parents have that background from Mexico, but I was born here and this is all I know. My parents came from nothing to a country that provided me and my brothers an opportunity. I would consider myself a patriot because I feel like I embody that idea of being a patriot. I think having only one representation of that through the scholarship really limits the kids, the potential, and the lives you could be changing with that scholarship,” Lopez said.
Peretto says the 2020 scholarship could have different questions, but says it will still represent the values the Daniels Fund tries to exemplify on a daily basis.
“There are Republicans, Democrats, Independents and others that absolutely love America and love business,” said Peretto.