By Eva Widder
As I write this, we are nearing the end of a beautiful fall semester on campus. Activities are in full swing and campus is abuzz. I'm sure you can recall the stress of studying for final exams paired with anticipation of the holidays just around the corner. It is an exciting time on campus and a great reminder of the reason for our work: our students.
It certainly will not come as news to you that our students and their families are facing some of the hardest times in decades. For many students, these economic challenges are pushing a college education out of reach at a time when that education is more necessary than ever.
Did you know that in 1969, a full time undergraduate student paid just $385 to study at the University of Minnesota? A student earning minimum wage could easily cover their school bill by working just six hours a week. Today, that same student would have to work 34 hours a week to pay their $10,000 tuition--and that does not even begin to address housing costs. The real challenge for current students is not higher education costs; rather, it is that increases in wages and household income have not kept pace.
Put simply, it is no longer rea-listic for a full time student to pay for school without help.
The story is similar at the graduate student level. Our ability to recruit the most promising students is directly tied to the fellowship resources that we can offer. Competition for top students is tight, with those candidates often entertaining offers from multiple universities. The continued strength of our Department--our teaching, research, and outreach--depends on a talented cohort of Master's and Doctoral students.
You have read about Ming Tchou and Pearl Bergad, who established the Chinese Heritage Foundation Fellowship in 2007. You can follow Ming and Pearl's lead by creating a scholarship or fellowship to help bring talented students to the University of Minnesota. Your gift may even qualify for matching gift incentives.
I can certainly understand if you say that now is not the time for us to be asking you for support. After all, the dismal economy has hurt everyone. But there has also never been a better time to give. The need is critical. And the cumulative impact of your giving could be truly transformative for our students and our Department.
If you would like to explore your giving options and ways to help our students, please contact me at (612) 626-5146 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Associate Development Officer