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K-State Today

October 6, 2011



Monthly letter to campus from President Schulz

By Cheryl May

Dear Faculty and Staff:

Welcome to October! It has been a busy year already, with everything on campus in full swing. In order to facilitate communications on campus, we will frequently post various updates of interest to the Kansas State family in K-State Today. In addition to my monthly letters, you will see periodic updates on research, our financial situation, initiatives out of the provost’s office, and information on other aspects of Kansas State University. I scan through K-State Today each morning, and I encourage you to start your day by taking a few minutes to keep up with all that is Kansas State University.

We continue to make plans to celebrate Kansas State University’s 150th birthday. The steering committee has been working for a year and more than 100 people have been involved to date. Four classes, graduate and undergraduate, are also involved in the planning. We will kick off the celebration Feb. 14, 2013, with a weekend of events and close our celebration with homecoming weekend 2013. Mark your calendars now! The nine months will be packed full of events recognizing K-State's history and accomplishments and the accomplishments of our alumni and friends. We will also take a look at K-State's future endeavors. As we have more information on our 150th celebration, I will include updates in my monthly letters.

This month, I want to describe our new Premier Student Scholarship program at Kansas State.

Scholarship support for our students is absolutely critical to ensuring that Kansas students have access to a K-State educational experience. Our program is designed to consider both need and ability and acknowledges the fact that approximately 70% of Kansas State students receive some form of financial aid. To illustrate, the percentage of total federal Pell Grant recipients among the state's four year public institutions for 2008-2009 was: 25% K-State, 21% KU, 19% Wichita State, 14% Pittsburg State, 12% Fort Hays State, and 9% Emporia State (National Center for Educational Statistics). Presently, we provide $206 million in student financial aid to current K-State students, which has increased from $168 million five years ago. Given the significant financial need of our students, increasing the funds for student financial aid is more important than ever before.

The granting of scholarship aid to our students is part art and part science. Ideally, we want to provide appropriate aid to our students to ensure that they can continue to progress through their degree programs in a timely fashion with a minimum amount of debt. We also want to be able to provide scholarship support based on merit and academic prowess so that we are attracting the best and brightest students to Kansas State. The bottom line is that we need to continue to grow the financial resources available for our students in a way which is sustainable and balanced.

I have continued to place a high priority on philanthropy as we move K-State toward our goal of becoming a Top 50 Public Research University. As part of this, we need to continue to build our privately-funded scholarship resources including donor-designated scholarships and premier scholarships.

Donor-designated scholarships have been the primary philanthropic scholarship program at Kansas State. These funds may be endowed or given annually, with the donor deciding on the scholarship amounts and frequency of awards. This program has worked well for Kansas State for many years, and will continue to be a key part of our scholarship fundraising strategy.

As we examined this program, it was clear that we needed to design additional scholarship opportunities that will be significant enough to help us recruit the best and brightest high school graduates, and will provide the complete cost of attendance for the academically elite students in Kansas who could attend virtually any university of their choice. With these attributes in mind, we designed the Premier Scholarship program.

Our Premier Scholarship program is built around four key scholarships: Presidential, Bluemont, Leadership and Wildcat. These scholarships are all renewable for up to four years (or five years for programs that require five years) if the student maintains a 3.5 GPA while at Kansas State. The Presidential Scholarship is a $20,000 annual award, with a one-time $2,000 study abroad stipend. These are our highest scholarships, given to our most academically gifted students at Kansas State University. The Bluemont Scholarship award is $10,000 per year, and designated for students with a minimum of 32 on the ACT and a 3.8 or higher GPA. The Leadership Scholarship awards $5,000 per year, and is designated for students with a minimum of 26 on the ACT and a 3.8 or higher GPA. The Wildcat Scholarship award is $2,500 per year, and is designated for students with a minimum of 23 on the ACT and a 3.8 or higher GPA. Leadership and Wildcat scholars have demonstrated leadership in their high school or community.

These scholarships can be funded through either an endowment or an expendable gift. As we enter our next comprehensive campaign, we will be placing a high priority on endowing as many of these scholarships as possible. However, some alumni and friends will make annual cash gifts to support scholarships. For the Premier Scholarships, this means making a commitment for a minimum of four or five years to fund the scholarship on a renewable basis.

As we make substantive progress towards securing more privately-funded Premier Scholarships, does this mean that we will redirect existing scholarship funds? No. It is vital to continue increasing scholarship support to keep K-State accessible.

So, as we celebrate another record enrollment, please also know that all of us are working to ensure that we are attracting outstanding students to Kansas State, in addition to putting together financial packages to keep K-State affordable for Kansas families.

Go Cats!

Kirk