A Broader Net

With $20 million given for scholarships during the Giving Opportunity campaign, UAFS donors are helping more students every year.

Dr. Marta Loyd speaks to foundation donors.The UAFS Foundation’s annual Scholarship Banquet has grown dramatically in recent years, filling the Stubblefield Center on a Tuesday evening this October with more than 350 scholars, donors, donor representatives, and other guests.
 
Scholarship students thanked “their” donors, donors heard about students’ plans and ambitions, and both got to see firsthand that scholarships are much, much more than an impersonal transfer of resources—that they are, in fact, gifts in the truest sense of the word, from one person to another.
 
Near the end of the evening, Foundation Executive Director Dr. Marta Loyd (left in photo) exhorted students to capitalize on the opportunities they’d been given by persevering through to graduation, reminding them that donors, by giving, are in effect saying, “We believe in you. We'll help you. Just keep going.”
 
Along the way, Loyd noted that just 20% of adults in Arkansas hold bachelor’s degrees, well below the national average, and that finances are among the primary reasons they either don’t go to college in the first place, or enroll but then stop out before graduation.
 
Private supporters of the University are doing more every year to change that. In the 2003-04 academic year, just before the start of the Giving Opportunity campaign, the Foundation disbursed $619,000 in scholarships to help 355 students attend UAFS. Last year, $972,000 went to help 460 deserving students.
 
That’s 26 percent more students helped and a 21 percent bigger average award—the result of an incredible $20.1 million given in support of endowed scholarships since the beginning of the campaign.
 
As the number of jobs available with only a high school education keeps shrinking and the wage gap between high school and college-educated workers keeps growing, that kind of support is more important than ever—not just to the students themselves, but to our region, state, and nation.