The Green Ceiling. Parents and students alike might feel as though the cost of higher education is an endlessly increasing figure. We can’t speak for other institutions, but here, there’s a reason the cost per student has increased: our endeavor to be “ever better” has actually made us better—inside and outside the classroom. The real problem is there are too many deserving students and too few financial aid dollars. The answer is a deeper pool of endowed scholarships and fellowships.
“When I was a boy, scholarships were only $30.” That would make you about 164 years old. Endowed scholarships have existed at the University since its founding in 1850. Among the first were the New York Baptist Union scholarships, which covered three terms worth of tuition. Endowed scholarships and fellowships have the potential to reach a high level of prestige and endure for centuries.
SCHDPF. Endowed scholarships and fellowships are critical resources because of the financial assistance they provide students and the way they benefit the University. Use “SCHDPF” as a simple way to remember how they help the University: Stay Competitive, often being the difference between students coming here or going elsewhere; Honor Diversity, ensuring high-performing students from all backgrounds are able to attend; and Provide Freedom from heavy student debt. Remember SCHDPF!
The Meliora Club. There’s a movie from the 80s (“The Detention Gang?”) where a character writes this amazing “essay,” that captures the essence of a Rochester student. To borrow from that, each of our students is a scholar, an engineer, a caregiver, an artist, and a prankster. Every year since 2009, scholarship and fellowship donors have been able to see this first hand at the Celebration of Scholarships. While the annual event recognizes donors’ generosity and scholarship recipients’ accomplishments, it also provides a unique opportunity for donors and students to meet and interact with students.
Getting down to brass tacks. An endowed scholarship or fellowship can be created with a minimum gift of $50,000. There are three additional giving levels that provide partial tuition, full tuition, and full tuition with room and board (or graduate stipend). There are still more options for those looking to commit less than $50,000. And for those looking for fun, making a gift that also creates a good old-fashioned challenge could be a great way to add excitement and impact to philanthropy.