Donation to create non merit-based scholarships

Richard Kelly

Even with a struggling economy bearing down on businesses, schools and families, Washburn’s scholarship fund received a boost thanks to a recent donation.

The Goppert Foundation, a private non-profit organization out of Kansas City that appeals to Kansas and Missouri universities and organizations, recently donated $100,000 to Washburn University after an application was sent in to the foundation by the Washburn Endowment Association. The money will be used in the fall of 2010, and will ultimately benefit full-time undergraduate students who otherwise would receive no merit-based scholarships and who demonstrate financial need. Distribution of funds will be left to the discretion of the Financial Aid Office.

“The benefit to students that I see is an additional revenue source for tuition, books, fees and expenses,” said Wendy Walker Zeller, director of donor relations and communications for the WEA. “In this challenging economic environment, students need all the financial help they can get.”

The number of recipients for the scholarship, as well as how much each student will receive when the scholarship becomes available, is yet to be determined. The amount of interest which builds off the original $100,000 in two years will determine how much money will be available to distribute to students.

Students will likely be able to renew their scholarships if they do not qualify for any merit-based scholarships for the next year. With the initial scholarship availability date still some time away, much is still unknown about the details of the scholarship offered by the Goppert Foundation. As the availability date approaches, more information will be available.

For some students, this will help take the burden off student loans that take some time to be repaid. The scholarship will also benefit students who may not have the best grades but want to improve their standing, and won’t be able to do so without financial help.

“It’s definitely a good jumping point for moving towards merit-based scholarships,” said Jake Prewitt, sophomore. “It shouldn’t be something where the student can become dependent, but it’s definitely a good opportunity for students who show the desire to learn.”

The WEA, which ultimately attempts to find foundations which will contribute to Washburn University, is stepping on new ground with this scholarship opportunity. Many scholarships are merit-based, and Jason Griffin, sophomore, sees this as a chance for those students who don’t have the grades to qualify.

“If students apply for this scholarship, obviously it shows they have desire, so it won’t be a waste of scholarship money,” said Griffin. “Ultimately, it gives people who deserve some sort of funding a chance they wouldn’t receive otherwise.”