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MU to make it rain: $100 million for scholarships

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By Jeffrey Sadownick, For The Miami Student

Miami University recently announced a plan to raise $100 million to go toward scholarships for incoming students. The Miami Promise Scholarship Campaign hopes to give prospective students the means to attend Miami.

"We know families want to come to Miami, and we want to make sure that we can provide the resources to families to make it a reality," Associate Vice President for Enrollment Management Michael Kabbaz said.

The university will raise the money over the course of five years and fundraising began this past July. Although the plan spans five years, the money will be put to use immediately on the next incoming class.

Prospective students may receive the scholarships as financial aid, merit-based aid or both. All applicants will be eligible for scholarships created through the Miami Promise Campaign, regardless of their majors or academic division.

The University Advancement office created will execute the program under the direction of President David Hodge.

Miami will likely receive most of the money from individual donors, families and corporate supporter and expects many of the donors to be alumni.

"I am very confident that Miami alums will respond and be supportive," VP and Executive Director of the Miami University Foundation Thomas Herbert said.

The university will use donations directly toward scholarships. Miami hopes more donors will be attracted because they would know their donations went directly and immediately toward the students.

Miami also sees the campaign as an opportunity to attract the best students. The Office of Student Financial Aid will administer the money raised by the campaign and the university can use the money to give generous scholarships to highly competitive applicants.

"The university wants to have access to the best and brightest students from Ohio, from around the U.S. and from around the world, and the way in which we can provide that support is through scholarships," Kabbaz said.

Over the last 10 years, the cost of tuition and fees at public four-year universities has risen 4.2 percent on average; nearly double the average rate of inflation over the same period. Additionally, more recent college graduates struggle with student loans than ever before. The Miami Promise will make college more affordable for more Miami students.

"We want to create pathways to Miami and we don't want cost to be the barrier," Kabbaz said.

Miami created new matching gift programs to encourage donors to create new endowments.

"I would be in favor of anything that lessens the cost," first-year Brennan Kauffman said. "I think it's important that as many people as possible get the opportunity to go to college."