Centre announces $50 million scholarship initiative

Published 5:35 am Friday, September 16, 2022


Centre will receive $50 million in scholarships over the next 10 years for underserved students.

A $20 million grant from the Schuler Education Foundation to Centre will be matched by a $20 million gift from an anonymous College donor, and the college has plans to raise an additional $10 million in matching funds over the next decade.

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Centre was among five colleges selected to participate in the Schuler Access Initiative that aims to enroll more talented students who are Pell-eligible, or with undocumented status at some of the country’s top liberal arts colleges. Other college selected in the second year of the program were Barnard College, the College of the Holy Cross, Scripps College and Trinity College. Last year, the Schuler Access Initiative partnered with Bates College, Carleton College, Kenyon College, Tufts University and Union College.

“Every day, our community demonstrates that an extraordinary liberal arts and sciences education leads our graduates to meaningful lives and purposeful careers,” Centre President Milton C. Moreland, Ph.D. said in a news release. “I am deeply grateful for the generosity of the Schuler Education Foundation—as well as our anonymous donor—for helping us to provide an ambitious model of support for deserving students.”

The Schuler Education Foundation will work with up to 20 highly selective liberal arts colleges and will spend $500 million over the next 10 years as part of the initiative. The Foundation notes that with matching funds the project will generate a potential investment of $1 billion in underserved populations.

“A liberal arts education is unique to the United States and has proven to be a great foundation for success in post-graduate studies,” Jack Schuler, co-founder of the Foundation, said in a release. “By partnering with these five additional top colleges who serve a broad range of students, we have the opportunity to support even more undocumented and Pell-eligible students.”

This new scholarship funding adds to past philanthropy at Centre, which has established scholarships with the James Graham Brown Foundation, the Posse Foundation, the Bonner Foundation and endowed scholarships in Centre’s own Lincoln and Grissom programs. The Grissom Scholars Program, a full-tuition-plus scholarship initiative launched in 2015 with a gift from former board chair, David Grissom, and his wife, Marlene, has helped raise the institution’s percentage of first-generation students from 8.9 percent to 21 percent. Centre has also made significant investments to grow enrollment of Pell-eligible students from 14.5 percent in 2013-14 to 21.2 percent in 2021-22. As part of this new initiative, and in alignment with Centre’s strategic plan, the College is committing to increasing the number of students who are Pell-eligible or ineligible for federal aid to 25 percent in the next five years.

In April, an anonymous donor made a $10 million commitment to enhance student success for all first-generation students. That gift enables Centre to provide all incoming first-gen students with $5,000 in enrichment funding, in addition to their generous financial aid packages. Centre was also recently recognized as one of 10 schools in the nation to receive a $1 million grant from and be named a partner in the Kessler Scholars Collaborative to improve college access and success for talented first-generation students.