Scholarships Provide Umbrella for Economic Downpour

In this economy, the deciding factor for choosing a college for many prospective students is the cost.

At The University of Tampa, most of the students are being relieved from that financial burden through scholarships.

Ninety-one percent of all UT students received a portion of the $35 million in institutional aid last year.

Robert Bruns, director of Corporate and Foundation Relations, oversees and helps secure money for student scholarships such as the Presidential, Dean and Transfer scholarships.

“Our job is to go out and raise money to backfill these scholarships,” he said.

Bruns said that his office raises money from corporations, foundations, alumni and friends of the university for two additional kinds of scholarships called the Annual and the Endowed Scholarship.

The Annual Scholarship is named after a person or corporation donating at least $2,500 to establish a scholarship.

These organizations and people donate money each year.

The following year it is distributed through financial aid to the students’ scholarships.

During the process, the Financial Aid department looks at which students meet the criteria and were awarded either the Presidential, Dean or Transfer scholarships.

The money then supplements the aid already given.

Scholarship criteria is based on students’ GPA, major, whether they are local or out-of-state residents and whether the aid is need-based or merit-based.

The Endowed Scholarship works a little differently.

The business or person donates a certain amount of money to have a Endowed Scholarship named after them.
“It used to be $25,000…now the amount is $50,000…because the price of education goes up,” Bruns said. Then, the interest of the donation goes to scholarships each year.

The donors are listed in the “UT Journal,” according to Bruns.

Financial Aid is making up letters to send out to students to inform them of what scholarships make up their combined financial aid.

“What we do is we ask students to write thank-you letters to them…What we want them to know is that there are real, living, breathing people behind… a lot of these scholarships and without that money…we could never provide the aid for them to come here,” Bruns said.

Bruns said the donors and the students receiving money from them are invited to a scholarship luncheon on Nov. 19.

Students can meet the donors and possibly find jobs and make connections.

There are also two Endowed Scholarships that have not been given away much in recent years, according to Bruns.

The first is the Julia I. Dickinson Scholarship, the criteria for which is to show a record of lineal descent from a confederate veteran. This is also renewable each year.

The other scholarship is the Charles E. Goulding Jr. Scholarship. Students must show that they have a minimum of one-twelfth Native American blood to qualify.

Bruns said that the biggest scholarship that UT offers is the University Scholar. It was given by a local foundation and awarded to Student Body President Kelsie Huth four years ago. The Admissions office will find another student to award it to when she graduates.

This scholarship pays for tuition, room and board and books. There is only one local foundation funding this scholarship at the moment and they have donated over one million dollars. UT is in the process of finding other funding for this scholarship, so they can award it to more students.

“We don’t raise that much money. Some of it we have to eat [ourselves],” Bruns said. “Some of it the university just accepts as the price of doing business. But, they ask us to go out and raise as much as we can.”

Posted September 30 2009 at 4:51 pm

The Minaret: http://theminaretonline.com/2009/09/30/article6145

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