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Last Dollar Scholarship Fund Helps Students Through Financial Challenges

Posted March 7, 2011

For students who experience sudden financial hardship during their college years, there are few places to turn for help. Kent State's Last Dollar Scholarship Fund was established by Kent State University President Lester A. Lefton to aid students whose college education is at risk due to unforeseen financial difficulties.

leads Last Dollar Scholarship
The Last Dollar Scholarship helps students in need.

"This program is designed for students who are going through an unexpected financial crisis, and have nowhere else to turn," says T. David Garcia, associate vice president, Enrollment Services. "We want to try and find a way to help students who feel they are out of options."

Since the program's inception, 33 students have received funds from the program. Assistance has been awarded to students experiencing a wide range of challenges, including a house fire, family medical issues and unemployment.

"We've even been contacted by a family with three siblings, all of whom are attending Kent State at the same time," Garcia says. "We want to work to help students during challenging times, and hopefully keep them here at Kent State."

More than $72,000 from the fund has been awarded this far, and the average amount of assistance is $1,980. But with the coffers now down to slightly more than $11,000, the university is asking for contributions to continue the critical work of the Last Dollar program.

"We are encouraging Kent State faculty and staff to consider making a contribution to help this important effort," says Gene Finn, vice president for institutional advancement. "Every donation to this fund will make a big difference in the lives of students. In many cases, it is the help that allows them to continue their education here."

The Last Dollar Scholarship Fund was established when President Lefton and the 10 members of his cabinet gave up their raises due Sept. 1, 2009. This provided seed money of approximately $65,000, and faculty and staff contributions brought the fund to more than $83,000.

Every donated dollar goes directly to students after a thorough review of the financial aid office before being approved to receive assistance. "We are fortunate to have a very generous university community," Finn says. "Every contribution of any amount is appreciated."

The annual Faculty and Staff Campaign kicks off the first week of April. But contributions by faculty and staff count anytime during the year.

To make a donation to the Last Dollar Scholarship Fund, click the "Give to KSU" button on the front page of www.kent.edu. On the next page, click on the "Click to Give Now" button and fill out the form, which includes an area where you can designate your contribution to the Last Dollar fund. There is a Last Dollar Scholarship Fund option for each campus.

By Bob Burford