Faculty and staff asked to help refill Last Dollar Scholarship Fund

Christine Morgan

Editor’s note: An earlier headline on this story was changed to more accurately reflect the content.

A call to action asks faculty and staff to replenish funds that provide immediate relief to students in dire need of financial aid.

The Last Dollar Scholarship fund is a program created by President Lester Lefton two years ago to aid students who face extreme financial hardships. Funds are raised from donations of faculty and staff though payroll deductions or one-time payments.

“We have not conducted a formalized request for additional donations in awhile,” said Dave Garcia, associate vice president of enrollment management and student affairs. “The reason we are doing this now is because the funds have been depleted to the point where it’s going to zero out.”

Garcia said as of November 2010 the fund totaled $80,000 but is now less than $10,000. He said replenishment of the fund is crucial.

“If we can’t help them, they may not be able to stay here at Kent State,” Garcia said. “I think it is the purpose and the mission of Kent State to help our students graduate and to become productive citizens.”

Molly Wendt, freshman nutrition and dietetics major, said it’s nice to see professors helping students despite the hard economic times.

“It’s definitely generous of those professors who donate because they don’t have to,” Wendt said. “I know it’s not easy for anyone to pay, but at least they are doing something for those in dire need.”

Garcia said the funds are given on a case-by-case basis.

“The staff members in the Student Financial Aid office do a holistic review of all the financial aid a student is receiving before they give some of the fund,” Garcia said. “We look at all options before we tap into this fund because once the money is gone, it’s gone.”

Mark Evans, director of Student Financial Aid said the fund has helped many students at Kent State continue their educations.

“The Last Dollar Scholarship program has been very successful for staff and faculty who have contributed to the program,” Evans said. “It has helped a number of students be able to fulfill their dreams of graduating.”

Garcia said a formal call to action for faculty and staff to replenish the fund will be sent through campus mail in the next few weeks. He said he believes now is the time to help those students who cannot help themselves.

“Times are getting harder and harder for students,” Garcia said. “They are working more, and they’re trying to make ends meet. I think if there’s any time to really step up to the challenge, I would say now is that time.”

Contact Christine Morgan at [email protected].