Helping Families Caught in the Middle - the Gonzaga Scholars Program
By Holly Jones
When the mission of Gonzaga University resonates deeply within a student’s heart, the socioeconomic status of their family shouldn’t matter.
For the past decade, supporters of the Gonzaga Scholars Program have ensured that Zags who connect with the University’s mission but may not have the financial resources can pursue their dreams of a Gonzaga degree. The rising costs of higher education have made these generous donors’ support even more crucial to the University’s ability to have a diverse student population. The Gonzaga Scholars Program has made a terrific difference over the past 10 years, and has been a part of the Gonzaga Will campaign, yet there is still more work to be done.
For 98 percent of our students, their ability to receive a Gonzaga education relies on financial aid; in some cases, the scholarships, loans, grants and family contributions combined still fall short.
“High-need students qualify for some government funding and oft en seek outside scholarships and grants to help make up the difference but there is still a gap,” Gonzaga’s Dean of Admission Julie McCulloh explains. “The Gonzaga Scholars Program not only helps families who have a lower income, but has a tremendous impact on middle-income families who may not qualify for the government aid available to others.”
This gap in funding becomes particularly problematic for middle-income families with more than one student in college – making what the U.S. Department of Education calls the “Expected Family Contribution“ (EFC) less reflective of the family’s financial realities.
“We want these students to become Zags,” McCulloh added. “The Gonzaga Scholars Program helps us remove obstacles so that admitted students who feel truly connected to our mission don’t have to turn away.”
- In 2007, its first year, the Gonzaga Scholars Program received more than $7,600 from four donors.
- By the end of its second year, the total grew to more than $83,000.
- Now 10 years later, 8,131 donors have given to the Gonzaga Scholars Program, which has helped bridge the gap for 101 students.
- In 2017 alone, the program received $174,637 in donations, all of which will be allocated to students in need. Because the Gonzaga Scholars Program is one of the University’s annual funds, the money must be replenished every year.
“It’s time we take the Gonzaga Scholars Program to the next level,” said McCulloh. “We need students with intellectual curiosity, a thirst for justice, who seek the truth – regardless of family income. Support for the Gonzaga Scholars Program has helped, and continues to help, the University on our Jesuit path of education for all.”
The Gonzaga Scholars Program has made a Gonzaga education possible for many more students.