Five-year plan will double money Foundation raises for scholarships and fellowships, ensure UConn attracts best and brightest
STORRS—On Nov. 7, the Board of Directors of the UConn Foundation endorsed a five-year, $150 million fundraising initiative that will double the amount of financial support—including merit and need-based scholarships—that the Foundation raises for the benefit of the UConn student body.
Over the past five years, the Foundation has raised an average of $15.6 million annually for student support—including scholarships, fellowships and assistantships—helping the University’s efforts to offer aid to more than 10,000 students each year.
The new initiative calls for the Foundation to increase that number to $30 million annually.
“A university’s success is measured by the students it attracts and educates, which today means that growing our financial aid capabilities is more important than ever,” said UConn President Susan Herbst. “This initiative by the Foundation’s Board of Directors will help ensure UConn’s status as a destination for the types of talented, ambitious students who are the heart of a great university.”
This ambitious undertaking comes at a pivotal time for UConn, as the number of students applying to the University is approaching 32,200—triple the number of applications in 1995.
UConn is also adding 6,580 students over the course of a decade, an increase of almost 30 percent. Much of the expected increase in enrollment is connected to Next Generation Connecticut, a $1.5 billion state-supported plan to strengthen UConn with an emphasis on science, technology, engineering, and math.
“As UConn adds 30 percent more students over the next decade, the need for scholarship and fellowship support will grow considerably,” said Josh Newton, president of the UConn Foundation. “The UConn Foundation’s $150 million initiative will bring a UConn education within reach of more families and strengthen the University’s standing among top public institutions.”
The Foundation’s initiative will not only help UConn attract and retain students, but also combat student debt levels after graduation. Currently 83 percent of UConn undergraduates receive some form of financial aid. While the average student loan debt at UConn for 2013 graduates was $24,600, that is nearly 20 percent lower than the national average ($30,000) for students at private and public institutions.
“UConn is a great value and we’re proud that on average its students are graduating with less debt than their peers at other schools,” said Coleman Levy, Chairman of the Foundation’s Board of Directors. “We must ensure that UConn not only remains competitive with other nationally ranked universities, but that we are a leader in terms of affordability and accessibility.”
The Foundation’s student support initiative comes at a time when UConn has risen dramatically in stature. It currently ranks No. 19 on the U.S. News & World Report list of the nation’s top public research universities.
Investment in facilities and faculty has played a key role in UConn’s ascent, enabling the University to attract greater numbers of high-caliber students. In recent years, each incoming freshman class has exceeded the previous one in academic accomplishment. This year’s freshman class has an average SAT score of 1234, the highest in UConn history.
The student support initiative, which was unanimously endorsed by the Foundation’s Board of Directors at a full board meeting on Friday, Nov. 7, will be officially launched early next year. Last year the UConn Foundation received philanthropic gifts and commitments totaling $81.1 million, a 23 percent increase over the preceding year and the highest level of giving in the 50-year history of the UConn Foundation.