Donors to PNC Scholarship Challenge contribute to student success at UA

02/04/2014

When it comes to earning a college degree, the greatest obstacle is often the funds to do so.

Recognizing this, The University of Akron and PNC Bank embarked on a partnership in 2013 to create the PNC Scholarship Challenge, a campaign to raise funds specifically for freshmen entering the University in the fall of 2014.

Alumnus Dave Gausman '70 contributed to the PNC Scholarship Challenge and felt it was important to assist incoming UA freshmen stay focused on their studies and reduce their tuition debt.

During the campaign, more than 470 alumni, friends, and organizations generously answered the Challenge and made gifts – each one matched by PNC – to raise a total of $634,000. This fall, the funds will be distributed by UA’s Office of Student Financial Aid to incoming freshmen across all UA colleges who have a demonstrated need for assistance.

The availability of scholarships is a top priority at The University of Akron, which recently was recognized by The Institute for College Access and Success as having students who, on average, accumulate the lowest debt upon graduation than their counterparts – both at public universities in Ohio and across the country.

Scholarships allow students without college savings or families that can provide financial support to enroll full time, concentrate on their studies, and persist to graduation. In addition, scholarships can reduce or eliminate the burden of student-loan debt, which currently exceeds $1.2 trillion in the United States – and carries with it a number of consequences, including slowing economic growth, reducing job creation, and rising interest rates.

“Times have certainly changed,” remarked Dave Gausman, a 1970 University of Akron graduate from the College of Engineering who donated to the PNC Scholarship Challenge. “Today’s students can acquire a lifetime of debt by the time they graduate, or many well-qualified high school students may give up their dreams of a college education when finances become an obstacle. For these reasons, I chose to contribute – especially knowing my gift would be matched and used to assist deserving members of the freshmen class.

“I was lucky,” Gausman added. “Years ago when I concluded that a college education was worth pursuing, I looked to The University of Akron. When I look back at what the University provided me, I know my life’s outcome would have been drastically different if not for the outstanding education I received.”

Funds raised through the PNC Scholarship Challenge will play a vital role in reducing the overall burden of tuition debt for UA students, reinforcing why scholarships are among the very best ways to ensure student success. If you are interested in establishing or contributing to a scholarship, please contact Christine Curry in the Department of Development at The University of Akron. She can be reached at 330.972.8614 or ccurry@uakron.edu.