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Feature

Jenny Leuer in a University weight room.

Department of Food Science and Nutrition senior Jenny Leuer received a Bailey Nutrition Scholarship and hopes to go on to graduate school. "Having a scholarship drives me to succeed," says Leuer, who notes that scholarships were a large part of her decision to attend the U.

President Bruininks makes scholarships top priority

On May 13, President Bob Bruininks announced a major multiyear drive to raise private scholarship money for students, which includes a new matching program to encourage more donors.

For the current academic year, the University ranked third in the Big Ten for highest undergraduate tuition behind Penn State and Michigan. For the coming year, tuition and University fees for an undergraduate on the Twin Cities campus will be $7,477, an increase of $915 from the current academic year. Minnesota offers merit scholarships to only 14 percent of new freshmen, placing it last among the Big Ten. It also trails other Big Ten institutions and private colleges in the number and size of other scholarships it can offer to incoming freshmen. Currently, 4,500 students receive scholarships funded through private gifts to the University.

"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," said Bruininks, who has made scholarships one of the U's top fund-raising priorities. The goal of the newly announced University of Minnesota Scholarship Drive is to increase by at least 50 percent, or 2,250, the number of students who are helped through privately funded scholarships.

The new matching fund, the President's Scholarship Match, was 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.

"By creating this matching program, our goal is to increase endowed scholarships," said Bruininks. "Endowed funds are important because they provide a continuous and growing source of revenue far into the future." The President's Scholarship Match is open to donors making endowment gifts of at least $25,000. Gifts may be designated for a specific college 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, making it possible for donors to stretch their philanthropic dollars even further. Gifts to the fund may be made by individuals or groups and may be paid over five years.

"We're losing some of our top students to other states," said Wayne Sigler, director of admissions. "But there are other reasons for increasing scholarship support. It allows students to focus on their studies and to graduate on time." A recent University report shows that students with scholarships graduate in four or five years at rates 15 to 35 percent better than other students. For more information about supporting scholarships at the U, go to: http://www.giving.umn.edu

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