The Purdue University College of Agriculture received $9 million in scholarship support during the last fiscal year from alumni and other donors, about four times more than usual for a one-year period, according to new figures. The gift support from July 2012 to June 2013 shows that donors are helping to keep college tuition affordable for students. Increasing scholarship offerings is among the priorities at Purdue, and “the conversation of affordability has resonated with Purdue Agriculture donors,” said Eric Putman, director of agricultural advancement for the college.
The contributions are evidence of support for the university’s Purdue Moves initiative to contain costs by freezing tuition and lowering costs for undergraduate students, Putman said. Two out of three fall 2014 College of Agriculture incoming freshman students who applied for a scholarship received one. “Purdue Agriculture donors care about today’s students and have responded generously,” Putman said.
Over the last two years, more than 100 endowed scholarships have been established for students enrolled in the college. A growing number of scholarships are for “middle ground” students who otherwise would not qualify for financial aid or an academic scholarship. As an example, the late Don Huff, a 1971 Purdue alumnus, donated $1.8 million for $5,000 scholarships covering half of the in-state tuition cost and fees for such sophomore Indiana students.
The late Margaret Weeks, an Indianapolis schoolteacher, wanted to help students interested in agriculture as a profession. Her $1.9 million bequest helped establish the Margaret and John Weeks Scholarship Challenge Match, which matches new donations dollar for dollar. Since November, 30 donors have added to existing endowments or started new scholarships with the Weeks Scholarship Challenge. “Scholarship gifts are made by alumni and friends who share our enthusiasm for a Purdue Agriculture education,” Putman said. “We are tremendously appreciative of every single scholarship decision and are especially pleased at the growing number of scholarships available to every student in the College of Agriculture.”