A new initiative from the UM System Board of Curators will fund 56 need-based endowments for students at each of the system's campuses.
After Gov. Jay Nixon decided he would release $1.1 million in lottery funds, the UM System announced it would raise the same amount to fund a new set of scholarships for undergraduates studying in Missouri. The endowed scholarships will each have a $40,000 endowment, according to a UM System news release.
“We are excited about developing these new need-based scholarships and hope it will enable more students to attend one of our University of Missouri campuses,” UM System President Tim Wolfe said in a news release. “We appreciate additional appropriations, such as the $1.1 million recently received from Gov. Nixon that allow us to do even more to make the college dream a reality for Missouri students.”
The decision to use the additional funding for scholarships was deemed the most appropriate way to use the funding, said Nikki Krawitz, UM System vice president for finance administration.
“The Columbia campus will be able to use those scholarships to help students who have financial need attend MU,” Krawitz said.
Krawitz said the way the programs works is that $20,000 comes from state funds and an additional $20,000 is financed by a donor. Each of the 56 endowments will create a $2,000 scholarship for a needy student.
According to the release, during the 2011 fiscal year, $102 million in grant aid from the UM System allowed about 80 percent of undergraduate students in Missouri to benefit from various types of financial aid. Earlier this year, the Board of Curators voted unanimously to approve tuition increases for both in-state and out-of-state undergraduate students. In-state students will see an increase of of 3 percent and out-of-state resident tuition will increase by 7.5 percent.
Krawitz said although she does not know if additional scholarships like the current endowment will be created in the future, this practice is something the UM System has done in the past. MU students would be able to receive nine of the 56 scholarships.
“We understand the economic hardships many Missouri families face, especially when deciding to send their children to college,” Wolfe said. “These scholarships can help make access to college more affordable for high-need students.”
In the news release, Wolfe said this development exemplifies the system's commitment to Gov. Nixon’s work to increase the number of college graduates in Missouri.
“I’m confident with the support of our alumni and friends that we can provide important new financial support for our students,” Wolfe said. “We are pursuing every avenue possible to ensure the affordability of the University of Missouri for our state’s families.”
Krawitz said public reception of the endowment has been encouraging.
“I think the public is always happy to see the university is using its resources strategically to support access and accessibility for students,” she said. “The fact that what we’re doing is taking those funds and leveraging those to raise another $1.1 million, I think the public likes to see us be responsible and use our resources in that way.”