University System Foundation Provides $630,000 for Scholarships

Atlanta - University System of Georgia students who need financial assistance attending and staying in college will be eligible for help, thanks to a new $630,000 scholarship pool created and funded by the University System of Georgia Foundation.

Half of the total funds come from donations to the Foundation's annual "Regents Celebration of Educational Excellence Awards" event and the balance from the USG Foundation's investments.

"We are extremely excited to be in a solid financial position to fund this ambitious awards program," said USG Foundation Chair Neil Pruitt Jr., who also serves on the Board of Regents. "The Foundation's goal as set forth in our strategic plan is raising funds for need-based scholarships. With this program and the generous support of Georgia's business and philanthropic communities, our ongoing work to provide funding for scholarships at USG institutions is entering an exciting new era."

While the Foundation has a history of providing funds for scholarships, the new era Pruitt describes reflects significant changes in the current scholarship model. The key change is giving the scholarships in the name of the annual event sponsors in order to recognize their support of public higher education in Georgia. Another important change is providing institutional presidents greater flexibility in how to use the funds to help deserving students.

This year, there will be 42 awards to distribute to the USG's 31 institutions - one for each institution - with the balance going to institutions based on the numbers of Pell scholars attending a college or university or at the request of the contributing sponsor.

Each award is worth $15,000 and is provided to the president of each institution for distribution. The president will have complete control over the disbursement of the award(s) received, providing one, two or multiple scholarships, with the only stipulation that the scholarships must be need-based.

"As the University System focuses on keeping college affordable and accessible, developing new sources of need-based aid is a priority," said Pruitt.

In addition, college officials know through experience that just a small scholarship often can mean the difference between remaining in college and completing a degree or dropping out. The USG Foundation's need-based scholarship program is designed to help deserving students bridge that financial gap.

Institutions will be receiving the funds in June and presidents will award scholarships for the 2014-2015 academic year.