A new scholarship and academic aid initiative is being launched to help UNCG’s neediest students.
The UNCG Guarantee, which will help eligible North Carolina students graduate with little to no debt, was announced at a noon press conference yesterday, Feb. 9.
The first UNCG Guarantee scholars in the program will begin in fall 2010. The program addresses the UNC Tomorrow goals for expanding educational opportunities. It is being created through UNCG’s $6 million gift from an anonymous donor who made national headlines in 2009 with gifts to several American universities.
“The UNCG Guarantee gives us an enormous opportunity to enhance student success at UNCG, and especially for our students who need the most help financially,” said Chancellor Linda P. Brady. “The growth of scholarship funds was the top objective of our Students First Campaign, and the UNCG Guarantee will enhance the margin of excellence for recruiting and retaining the very best students.”
Phase One of the UNCG Guarantee Program will provide support for 30 to 40 first-year students. Given current resources, it is expected that the program can initially fund 130-140 scholars over four years. This represents Guarantee support for just 12 percent of students who meet eligibility requirements. The goal is to grow UNCG’s capacity to support an increasing number of deserving scholars.
Students chosen for UNCG Guarantee will receive a financial aid package that includes funds from the program’s newly created Lula Martin McIver Scholarship Endowment and other private gifts, along with federal and state grants. The aid package will include tuition and fees; on-campus room and board; and books, supplies and other educational expenses. Currently, $14,500 per year covers these costs for in-state students.
UNCG Guarantee has been under development for the past six months by a committee headed by Dean of Undergraduate Studies Steve Roberson and Director of Financial Aid Deborah Tollefson.
“This will be more than an outstanding financial aid package for those who qualify,” Tollefson said. “It is also a support program that provides a variety of opportunities and services to enhance scholars’ academic achievement, leadership skills and personal success.”
The effort addresses a primary initiative – expanding educational access and opportunity – of both the UNC system’s UNC Tomorrow Plan and the UNCG Strategic Plan 2009-2014, Roberson explained. In addition to financial aid, students will receive an array of academic support services, and a program administrator will develop a customized plan to guarantee their academic success. Support for the recipients will come from existing UNCG programs so that all endowment proceeds can be applied to financial aid.
“This program will create access to education and opportunities for success, particularly for citizens of North Carolina from underserved regions and underrepresented populations,” Roberson said. “It has been planned to provide the necessary funds, along with complementary systems of aid and outreach; vibrant, inclusive, and sustainable learning environments; and personalized and comprehensive support to students.”
The UNCG Guarantee Program will be need-based and is patterned after UNC Chapel Hill’s Carolina Covenant. The goal is to help in-state students graduate from UNCG in four years with as little debt as possible, and UNCG will make every attempt to meet the recipients’ financial need through a combination of federal, state, university and private grants and scholarships.
Admitted students who show high academic promise will have the option of enrolling in UNCG’s Lloyd International Honors College. There, they can study abroad for a semester or a full academic year, live in the Honors Residence Hall, participate in special honors programs, seek prestigious post-undergraduate fellowships and work to attain full university honors.
Eligibility requirements call for students to be North Carolina high school graduates who are admitted to UNCG and pursuing their first academic degree; to demonstrate academic promise and potential; to enroll full-time for the regular academic year; to have a family income that does not exceed 100 percent of the federal poverty standard; and to qualify for federal student financial aid. Admitted first-year students with interest in the program can visit the web site http://guarantee.uncg.edu/. As part of the application process, they will be asked to submit a one-page statement describing their goals and aspirations, along with their Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) application.
Central to UNCG Guarantee is the Lula Martin McIver Scholarship Endowment, which includes $5 million of the $6 million gift from the anonymous donor. The McIver Scholarships are available to both undergraduate and graduate students. Four million will be dedicated to scholarship support for the UNCG Guarantee, and one million will support scholarships for graduate students. Lula Martin McIver was the wife of the university’s founder, Charles Duncan McIver. She supported equal opportunities and education for women and minorities. The remaining $1 million was unrestricted, and is being used to help build endowments for two university distinguished professorships.
Vice Chancellor for University Advancement Patricia W. Stewart said that the Development Office will conduct a fundraising initiative this year to raise additional funds for UNCG Guarantee.