Winston-Salem State University (WSSU) aims to increase scholarship support for students through a unique matching fund-raising initiative.
Through the Million Dollar Match, all gifts received or pledged between now and Dec. 31, 2019, for need-based endowed scholarships will be matched dollar-for-dollar.
WSSU Chancellor Elwood L. Robinson said only a few historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) have launched this type of matching fund-raiser at this scope, with a goal of raising $2 million for need-based scholarships.
“There is a tremendous need for financial aid resources to make Winston-Salem State University a reality for students and families,” Robinson said. “This generous offer by a Winston-Salem couple to provide up to $1 million in matching funds challenges our alumni, students, faculty, staff and friends to take on a major role in helping our community meet the goal of making the university financially accessible to more students.”
There was a soft launch for the fundraiser in late February during an alumni event at the CIAA Basketball Tournament in Charlotte. As of Sept. 24, $284,000 has been pledged or contributed toward the $1 million goal.
The initiative launched publicly on Saturday, Sept. 14, with information tables at WSSU’s football home opener at Bowman Gray Stadium. This week, WSSU alumni and friends are being challenged to donate $18.92 or more toward the fund-raiser in honor of WSSU’s 127th birthday on Sept. 28.
Dr. LaTanya Afolayan, vice chancellor of University Advancement, said any size gift will help WSSU reach its goal.
“If you’ve ever thought about establishing an endowed scholarship, adding to your existing endowed scholarship or giving back to WSSU students, now is a great time because every dollar that is donated – up to $1 million – will be matched,” Afolayan said.
To qualify for the Million Dollar Match, donors may:
- Give to the Million Dollar Match Endowed Scholarship, which will provide need-based scholarships for WSSU students.
- Establish an endowed need-based scholarship with a minimum contribution of $12,500.
- Contribute to an existing need-based endowed scholarship fund.
The initiative is designed to enhance giving among WSSU’s more than 28,000 alumni, she said. Contributions during Homecoming 2019, including class reunion gifts, will qualify for the match.
Before the end of the year, WSSU will enhance the fundraiser through a series of outreach events that target the entire university community, including Homecoming during the week of Oct. 27, and WSSU Giving Tuesday on Dec. 3.
Name a Scholarship
A second goal of the initiative is to nearly double the number of endowed scholarships at WSSU from 125 to 200.
Endowed scholarships usually require a minimum donation of $25,000. However, through the Million Dollar Match, an endowed scholarship can be established for a minimum contribution of $12,500. Also, donors can pay for their contribution over 24 months; that’s a contribution of $520.83 per month.
Donors can choose the name of the need-based scholarship as well as the program they’d like to support.
Are You Up for the Challenge?
WSSU is nationally recognized for its commitment to graduating students and placing them in high-paying jobs and is one of only five universities in the nation that has consistently ranked among the top 20 schools on the Social Mobility Index (SMI) over the past five years.
WSSU serves a high percentage of underserved students who face unforeseen personal and financial circumstances that may hinder their ability to complete their education.
Last fall, nearly three-quarters of students received federal student loans, and 65% received Pell, a need-based grant. Even with this support, many WSSU students must discontinue their studies because the aid they receive isn’t enough.
Last fall, after applying loans and grants, nearly 300 WSSU students still had a deficit of more than $200, with an average deficit more than $3,200. By increasing the number of need-based scholarships, which typically range from $1,000 to $1,500, Afolayan said, WSSU can help even more students succeed.
“We’ve seen the kind of success these scholarships can have on our students,” she said. “During the 2016-17 academic year, of the 167 students who received need-based scholarships, 165 – that’s 99% – continued their education or graduated.”
For more information or to give to the Million Dollar Match, text Ramily to 71777, visit the Million Dollar Match Mobile Cause page or call University Advancement at 336-750-2184.
About Winston-Salem State University
Winston-Salem State University fosters the creative thinking, analytical problem-solving, and depth of character needed to transform the world. Rooted in liberal education, WSSU’s curriculum prepares students to be thought leaders who have the skills and knowledge needed to develop innovative solutions to complex problems. Founded in 1892, WSSU is a historically Black constituent institution of the University of North Carolina with a rich tradition of contributing to the social, cultural, intellectual, and economic growth of North Carolina, the region and beyond. Guided by the motto, “Enter to Learn, Depart to Serve,” WSSU develops leaders who advance social justice by serving the world with compassion and commitment.