Scholarship Columbia breaks records

By Alexandra Kukulka

Impressing teachers can benefit a student’s grades and connections to the professional world. At Columbia however, faculty members have the option to support and finance a student’s education if they so choose.

Scholarship Columbia, a faculty and staff donation scholarship, has raised $547,287 in support and awards for the 2012–2013 school year. Beginning Jan. 16, 2011, the fourth giving cycle of the Scholarship Columbia program has raised approximately $169,000 more than the previous year.

Started in January 2009, Scholarship Columbia is a five-year matching program backed by $1 million. The purpose of the scholarship is to address the financial needs of students, according to the college’s website.

Eric Winston, vice president of Institutional Advancement, said this scholarship gives faculty and staff the option to donate money that the college then matches. A faculty committee is in charge of Scholarship Columbia and works with the support of Institutional Advancement, he added.

“It is a 1-1 match, so if you give a dollar, the college matches that with a dollar, which is a good incentive to get people to give,” Winston said.

In 2009–2010, the scholarship raised $57,102, which was awarded to 29 students. In 2010–2011, $136,694 was awarded to 42 students. In 2011–2012, $378,270 was awarded to 75 students. More than 100 students will receive the scholarship next year, according to Maureen Herlehy, director of Enrollment Management Services.

The money is awarded to continuing juniors at the college, such as Glenn Madigan, junior art and design major who applied for the scholarship this year. He found the application very simple, as it only required an essay and

recommendation letter.

Once a student has a Columbia story, or experience at the college, to tell, the application is even easier, Madigan added. With the increase in money donated, he hopes to see more students receive scholarships.

“Hopefully, they will be able to break it up so that everybody gets a little bit or a little bit more than what they were able to give before and spread the wealth,” he said.

As reported by The Chronicle on Feb. 13, the college is experiencing a decrease in enrollment and an increase in tuition and scholarships. According to Mark Kelly, vice president of Student Affairs, the college is working hard to give back to students.

“College finances are very complex, but [the college] has shifted increasingly to scholarship support for our students,” Kelly said. “The need of our students is literally infinite and our ability to address that need is limited, and we are doing better.”

Winston mentioned President Warrick L. Carter’s Feb. 6 email to the college community stating that scholarships will increase from $13 million to $24 million by the 2014 school year.

“That’s very important,” Winston said. “Scholarship Columbia is in addition to that because it is an individual, donor-based program. What we would hope is that the faculty and the staff of the college will increase their support for Scholarship Columbia.”

Scholarships are an important recruitment tool for the college, and that is why the president chose to increase tuition support, Winston added. However, Madigan believes that students come to Columbia to study what they are passionate about.

“Think about the education and the experience, rather than the finances,” Madigan said. “I think students will come to Columbia either way, but once they get here, they realize they have an extra sense of support.”