March 4, 2009
Although we're all feeling the pinch of the economy, financial crisis in a family can mean hard decisions about college educations. Some Colorado State University students have had to leave school to work full time to pay their bills. Others can no longer rely on the financial support of their parents who may have lost their jobs.
Sadly, many of the students we are losing – or will lose as time goes on – are very close to completing the requirements to earn a degree.
To help keep students from having to abandon their education goals, Colorado State has established the Student Support Grant, an “emergency fund” for students close to graduation, whose financial resources have been depleted.
Students such as Charles, who may have to drop out with only two classes to go before he fulfills the requirements for his minor…and a bachelor’s degree. Or Sara, who is one class short of graduating, but had to leave school to work full time.
Joyce Berry, vice president for Advancement and Strategic Initiatives, said the grant is an important tool to assist students in need, and demonstrates Colorado State’s commitment to educate the next generation of leaders. “The value of a college education is more important than ever, but for many students who are facing unanticipated financial hardships, the dream of a CSU degree is suddenly in jeopardy.” she said. “Helping these students is not only beneficial to them, but, in the long run, creates a better and stronger society.”
Benefits of a degree
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, during an adult's working life, high school graduates earn an average of $1.2 million; associate's degree holders earn about $1.6 million; and bachelor's degree holders earn about $2.1 million.
In addition, college attendance has been shown to "decrease prejudice, enhance knowledge of world affairs and enhance social status" while increasing economic and job security for those who earn bachelor's degrees, according to the Carnegie Foundation. Research consistently shows a positive correlation between completion of higher education and good health, not only for oneself, but also for one's children.
Colorado State has had great success in granting a limited number of small gifts to help students in financial crisis finish up their degrees. Often it takes less than $1,000 to change a life.
“A gift of any amount at a critical time can keep a student from abandoning her or his dream of a college education,” said Robin Brown, vice president for Enrollment and Access at Colorado State.
Small gifts can make a big difference
Emily, a Colorado State student, exemplifies how a small financial boost can change a life.
She left Colorado State six credits shy of her degree to work full time to make ends meet. A $500 grant, which covered her tuition, brought her back to campus to take the classes she needs to graduate. In May, Emily plans to receive her degree.
“This student is a perfect example of what a land-grant university is all about,” Berry said. “Today it is more critical than ever that we give a hand where needed, for the good of us all.”
Learn more about the Student Support Grant.
Contact: Sarah Morgan
Phone: (970) 491-3403