A new $1.25 million scholarship program at the University rewards student progress

By Marc Glass

Students admitted to the Class of 2023 at UMF have been offered a one-of-a-kind scholarship opportunity in higher education — and one that motivates making all the right moves.

Thanks to an investment of $1.25 million from two anonymous donors, the University is notifying incoming students and rising sophomores of its signature Presidential Persistence Scholarship that will award up to an additional $4,500 in merit-based financial aid over three years.

Presidential Persistence Scholarship Bar Chart

The $1.25 million Presidential Persistence Scholarship program at UMF is available to all students who meet eligibility and is awarded over and above need-based financial aid. (Infographic by Ryan Mastrangelo.)

As its name suggests, the new performance-based scholarship program rewards student persistence at UMF. To be eligible, students must earn 32 credits annually at UMF, be in good standing, and maintain a cumulative grade point average of 2.75 or above. Students who meet the program requirements will be awarded $1,000 toward the following year, $1,500 for the year after that, and $2,000 for the final year at UMF. The Presidential Persistence Scholarship is available to all students who meet eligibility and is awarded over and above need-based financial aid.

Jared Cash, vice president for enrollment and external affairs and architect of the scholarship program, says it provides UMF students with worthwhile incentives for enrolling in an additional course each semester that may feel financially out of reach.

Jared Cash, vice president of enrollment and external affairs

“This scholarship encourages choices that help both students and the institution: taking a full course load and excelling in those classes,” says Cash. “Reinforcing the commitment to taking 16 credits each semester will help students progress toward graduation on time and develop the habits of mind and time management that will serve them well beyond their four years here.” (Photo by Ryan Mastrangelo.)

Lisa Ellrich, director of admissions, sees the Presidential Persistence Scholarship program as critical to distinguishing UMF in a crowded and highly competitive admissions marketplace. And the timing of the program’s rollout — in the midst of yield season, when many high school students are choosing from among the colleges to which they have been accepted — is highly advantageous to the University.

Lisa Ellrich, director of admissions.

“With this program, we’re able to offer applicants something they are unlikely to find at thousands of colleges and universities nationwide,” says Ellrich. “High school students who are looking seriously at UMF are also highly desirable candidates at other universities. The Presidential Persistence Scholarship helps differentiate us as they make their decisions.” (Photo by Marc Glass.)

The $1.25 million behind the Presidential Persistence Scholarship program is part of the nearly $3.3 million Catalyst Fund gift provided to the University by two anonymous donors. The second-largest gift in UMF’s history will also fund several initiatives, including:

  • The expansion of professional mental health services in the University’s counseling office;
  • Plans to increase student participation in the University’s successful Summer Experience program;
  • New emergency grant interventions to assist students who have become financially vulnerable due to unforeseen adversities;
  • And the expansion of graduate-level professional development, certificate, and master’s degree programs.

Cash says that by investing in the Presidential Persistence Scholarship program the donors have chosen to make a direct impact on the lives of students and strengthen the University.

“Without their foresight and commitment to student success, a performance-based scholarship program like this wouldn’t be possible at UMF,” says Cash. “The kind of support offered by this program — a meaningful nudge to keep moving students in the right direction — means a great deal to our students. I’m deeply grateful to the donors for their generosity and for making UMF students a philanthropic priority.”