In less than two years, the Georgia Commitment Scholarship Program has led to the creation of more than 300 need-based scholarships, a resounding success in the University of Georgia’s ongoing mission to remove barriers and open doors for students.
The program, which was catalyzed by a $30 million gift from The Robert W. Woodruff Foundation, was unveiled by President Jere W. Morehead in January 2017. Since that time, 322 scholarships from 206 donors have been created, putting the program well on pace to surpass its goal of 400 scholarships by June 30, 2020.
“The Georgia Commitment Scholarship Program is a testament to the generosity of the UGA family and a demonstration of their inspiring commitment to our students,” said Morehead. “These scholarships will provide students a path to higher education not just today and tomorrow, but in perpetuity.”
Through the Georgia Commitment Scholarship Program, the UGA Foundation matches—dollar for dollar—any gift in the amount of $50,000, $75,000 or $100,000 to establish an endowed undergraduate need-based scholarship. The scholarship is awarded by the Office of Student Financial Aid within a year of the donor making his or her gift, and from that point forward, the endowment grows—increasing the size of the scholarship award over time and helping student after student earn a UGA degree.
The GCS Program offers students more than financial support to attend UGA. The program, in partnership with the Division of Academic Enhancement, provides tutoring, workshops, academic coaching and other support to help students transition into college life, find success while on campus and plan for life after graduation.
Students in the program come from an array of backgrounds as diverse as the state of Georgia itself.
“Forty-one percent of GCS students are from the metro Atlanta area with 59 percent from all other areas of Georgia, and 60 percent of scholars are from minority backgrounds,” said Brittany Adams, Georgia Commitment Scholarship Program coordinator. “We’re very proud that these scholarships support students from all across our state.”
Similarly, the donors who have established scholarships range from major Georgia business leaders such as Arthur Blank, Tom
Cousins and Pete Correll to UGA Foundation Trustees and UGA faculty and staff, including William Flatt, the D.W. Brooks Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Foods and Nutrition.
“My wife, Marihope, and I support the Georgia Commitment Scholarship Program because we realize the impact that it can have, not only on the recipients but also on the future of our state, nation and world,” said Flatt. “We consider our contributions to this program an excellent investment to improve our society for the future.”
“Donor support has been truly astonishing,” said Kelly Kerner, vice president for development and alumni relations. “In FY18, 12 scholarships were established, on average, each month. In the first four months of FY19, that average has risen to 15 each month. Alumni and friends understand the importance of this program and what it means for students, and they’re eager to help.”
As a major component of the Commit to Georgia Campaign’s effort to remove barriers for students, the GCS Program has been a critical element of UGA’s fundraising success over the past two years. To find out how you can contribute to that success, visit give.uga.edu.