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Feature

U president makes scholarships a top priority

By University News Service

From eNews, May 13, 2004

This week, University of Minnesota president Robert Bruininks announced a major, multiyear drive to raise scholarship support for students, which includes a new matching program to encourage more donors to give to scholarships. "I want to make sure that all students with the desire and ability to succeed at the University of Minnesota have the opportunity to do so," says Bruininks, who has made scholarships one of the U's top fund-raising priorities. The goal of the University of Minnesota Scholarship Drive is to increase by at least 50 percent the number of students who are helped through privately funded scholarships. Currently, 4,500 students receive scholarships funded through private gifts to the University. Minnesota trails other Big Ten institutions and private colleges in the number and size of scholarships it can offer to incoming freshmen. The University offers merit scholarships to only 14 percent of entering freshmen, placing it last in the Big Ten. "We're losing some of our top students to other states," says Wayne Sigler, director of admissions. "But there are other reasons for increasing scholarship support. Scholarships allow them to focus on their studies and to graduate on time." A recent University report shows that undergraduate students receiving scholarship support graduate in four or five years at rates 15 to 35 percent higher than other students. In-state tuition and fees for undergraduate students are projected to be about $7,477 in the fall of 2004; that figure represents a 52 percent increase over the past four years, due to significant reductions in state funding for the University. A new matching fund, the President's Scholarship Match, has been created to encourage donors to make endowed scholarship gifts. Through this program, the income from new endowed scholarships will be matched by funds from the University, doubling the impact of donors' gifts. When donors create endowed scholarship funds, about five percent of the market value is paid out to students as scholarship awards. "By creating this matching program, our goal is to increase endowed scholarships," says Bruininks. "Endowed funds are important because they provide a continuous and growing source of revenue far into the future. With more than half of our students staying in Minnesota after they graduate, the University is a critical source of talent for the state. For the good of Minnesota, we need to make sure that we can continue to attract and keep our talented and motivated students here." The President's Scholarship Match is open to donors making endowment gifts of at least $25,000. Gifts may be designated for a specific school-undergraduate or professional-or campus. Employer matching funds may be used to reach the $25,000 level, which is the minimum for creating an endowment gift at the University. Gifts may be made by individuals or groups and may be paid over five years. For more information about supporting scholarships at the U, see www.giving.umn.edu

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