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Early Impact program benefits students, donors

July 22, 2013 12:00AM

A new scholarship program at Pittsburg State University will help students feel the impact of private donors’ generosity more quickly.

The Early Impact Program, which launched July 1, 2013, and is in effect until June 30, 2014, seeks to make a more immediate impact on students with money that is donated to PSU as an endowed scholarship. During the program, any endowed scholarships of $25,000 or more will begin paying out student scholarships during the next academic year.

Traditionally, endowed scholarships take at least one year to accrue earnings sufficient to award.  Under this program, however, the PSU Foundation will "pay ahead" scholarships for any new endowment at the $25,000 level or above through fiscal year 2018. This will allow the donor’s gift to have an immediate impact on students.

“The goal of this program is for students to feel the full impact of our donors’ generosity as the scholarships develop,” Kathleen Flannery, PSU’s director of development, said. “It’s really a win-win for the students and the donors. The students are touched right away through scholarship money, and the donors get to see right away the impact they have on the students’ lives.”

The Early Impact Program is part of the university’s Pathways to PSU Scholarship Campaign, a three-year effort to raise at least $12 million for student scholarships. This year marks the final year of the Pathways campaign. Flannery said the university is “more than halfway to its goal.”

“We are extremely pleased by and grateful for the success so far of the Pathways campaign,” Flannery said. “We have passed the halfway mark of our fundraising goal, but there is still a lot of work to be done. With declining state funding for higher education, the need for student scholarships continues to increase. It’s very important that we not only reach our goal of $12 million, but that we exceed it and continue to grow our scholarship fund.”

Flannery said she also hopes the Pathways campaign raises awareness about the importance of endowments, which affect the university and its students in a variety of ways.

“Endowments enable the university to make commitments far into the future, knowing the resources to meet these commitments will continue to be available,” she said. “They are vital to our ability to provide scholarships to students now and in the years to come. It is also an opportunity for donors to create a legacy by naming a scholarship in honor or memory of a loved one.”

As with every scholarship, Flannery said, each endowment is created according to the donors’ intentions. A scholarship can address student financial need, recognize academic achievement or honor a PSU student who is enrolled in a specific degree program.

In 2012, more $3 million in scholarships were awarded to PSU students. With the changing environment surrounding funding for higher education, future needs for scholarship funds will be even greater.

“We were very proud to award more $3 million in 2012,” Flannery said, “but even that amount doesn’t quite meet the need of our students. We need to continue to raise even more scholarship funds so that we can get closer to meeting all of the needs of our students. Students are at the heart of everything we do, and we will always strive to support them in every way we can.”

For more information, visit www.pittstate.edu/office/development.

©2013 Pittsburg State University