After four years of fundraising success, the Georgia Commitment Scholarship (GCS) Program has received an additional $1 million from the University of Georgia Foundation to match future GCS gifts. The increase supports UGA’s new Diversity and Inclusive Excellence Plan, which calls for an increase in need-based student scholarships.
“I am thrilled with the foundation’s decision to allocate this additional funding in support of our students,” said UGA President Jere W. Morehead. “The Georgia Commitment Scholarship Program has done so much already to eliminate financial barriers that too often prohibit talented students from pursuing higher education. I know that UGA supporters will be eager to take advantage of this opportunity to create more scholarships for Georgia students.”
The Georgia Commitment Scholarship Program, established in 2017, passed two milestones in the first half of 2021: the creation of 600 endowed, need-based, undergraduate scholarships and the graduation of the first cohort of GCS recipients. In recognition of this success, the UGA Foundation board of trustees voted to designate an additional $1 million in matching funds to encourage further private support of the program.
“We were proud to allocate these funds and encourage others to support this incredible program,” said Neal Quirk, chair of the UGA Foundation board of trustees. “Considering the success of the GCS program and knowing how many deserving students in our state are still hampered by financial need, the trustees knew that this was a way we could make a real, lasting impact for UGA and our students.”
When the GCS program began, the UGA Foundation matched any gift in the amount of $50,000, $75,000 or $100,000 to establish an endowed, need-based, undergraduate scholarship—doubling the impact of donors’ gifts. Initial matching funds were exhausted by the overwhelming response to the program, but this new allocation will allow donors to take advantage of the match component once again.
“Being able to further my education and begin the journey to a successful life is all I ever dreamed of, and with the help of my scholarship fund, I am getting closer to that dream every day,” said Cy’Riah Pearson, a GCS recipient from Union City. “This scholarship is not only an investment in my future but also an investment in future generations of students.”
The GCS program has led to more than $90 million in new commitments to need-based aid at UGA since the program’s inception. As a result, UGA has more than doubled the amount of need-based aid it provides to students annually. Need-based student scholarships are essential to creating a diverse and inclusive learning environment at the university.
Students who have received a Georgia Commitment Scholarship represent a cross section of Georgia’s population: 61% come from underrepresented backgrounds, 40% are first-generation college students and 62% come from hometowns outside the metro Atlanta area.
Tailored, on-campus support assists program participants in becoming engaged on campus and promotes success after graduation. The first full cohort of GCS recipients graduated having participated in or led dozens of campus organizations, and their post-UGA destinations include Deloitte, NBC Universal Media, Georgia State College of Law and Bank of America.
UGA supporters interested in the Georgia Commitment Scholarship Program can learn more at give.uga.edu/georgia-commitment.