A liberal arts education can deliver a lifetime of personal and professional benefits, including the versatility needed to advance from career to career.
For many students and their families, however, paying for that college education is more challenging than ever.
That’s why the IU School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI is creating a new scholarship program – and seeking alumni donors to donate to the cause.
Called “Liberal Arts Works Scholarships,” these $2,500 awards will help retain liberal arts students by bridging the funding gap that can make a difference between dropping out and getting a degree.
“Campus research shows that a modest $2,500 scholarship can have a big impact on student retention,” said IU School of Liberal Arts Dean Thomas J. Davis. “To get this started, we’ve set an initial goal of $25,000 so we can underwrite ten of these scholarships in the 2017-2018 school year and make that critical difference for ten sophomores or juniors.”
The high cost of college education
Just about everywhere, college costs are on the rise. At IUPUI, as with many other state universities, state support for higher education is waning.
What’s more, many IUPUI students come from modest economic backgrounds. A fourth, in fact, come from families that fall below the poverty line. Students graduating from IUPUI and the School of Liberal Arts incur an average loan debt of $32,000.
In addition, many IUPUI students are first in their families to attend college, and that, says Davis, makes retention especially important.
“Students facing unmet financial need must make difficult choices,” said Davis. “Low-income students often need to work, which gives them less time to study. To make ends meet, they may have to incur a higher level of student-loan or credit card debt. If they’re not able to pay bills, they may eventually have to drop a class or drop out altogether.”
“A scholarship of as little as $2,500 can help prevent that. It can help students stay in school. It can help them graduate and move into the workforce. That’s what our Liberal Arts Works Scholarships are all about.”
How donors can help
School officials are looking for donations of any size to help reach the $25,000 first-year goal.
“People can give at any level to make a difference for a student,” said Liberal Arts Major Gifts Officer Liz Goodfellow. “It only takes ten people giving $250 to create a ‘Liberal Arts Works’ scholarship. Five people giving $500 could do the same. Of course, one generous donor could provide all ten scholarships. What a huge impact we could have working together to support our students.”