New program grants flexibility

Marina Boyle, Editor-in-chief

The Department of University Advancement has announced a new program within the Mercyhurst Annual Fund named the Student Scholarship Program.

The Mercyhurst Annual Fund is a critical component of the University’s budget, helping to bridge the gap between students’ tuition and operating expenses. The Annual Fund has a substantial impact on our campus by allowing flexibility to fund the areas of greatest need each year.

The new Student Scholarship Program now allows donors to direct a gift they make to student scholarships into one of five areas of their choice. The five unique current-use scholarships areas are General Scholarship Support, First-Generation Students, Single Parents, Students from Erie County and Students of Diversity.

The General Scholarship Support funds allow Mercyhurst to create competitive financial aid offers for prospective students. The rest of the scholarships do the same by supporting diverse students who may traditionally find it harder to access a college education.

For example, Mercyhurst supports both part-time and full-time single-parent students pursuing a post-secondary education with the Single Parent Students scholarship designation. Single parents can get help when pursuing associate and bachelor degrees as well as certificate programs.

Giving is overseen by the Department of Advancement and Alumni Relations.

“The new Student Scholarship Program is a program within the Mercyhurst Annual Fund which allows generous donors to select specific current-use scholarships. Alumni, friends and Mercyhurst community members can still choose the other areas we have in the Annual Fund as well. I’m really excited about this new program as it allows our donors to support our students directly through the Annual Fund in the way they wish,” said Mitchell Marsh, Annual Giving coordinator.

Mercyhurst’s student scholarships are critical in allowing students of all backgrounds to follow their dreams. Because of the support of donors last year, Mercyhurst was able to award approximately $56.7 million dollars of direct student aid in the 2019- 2020 academic year.

Alumni, parents, Mercyhurst employees, students and friends of the university can all make a contribution.

Student Phonathon callers also reach out to alumni by phone to seek donations for the fund.

“This is my first year running Phonathon but I’m excited that the students are able to call from our calling center! I’m also excited to see how much we can raise and the impact it’ll have on campus and on incoming students. The Annual Fund is such a critical part of the improvements that happen around Mercyhurst and the scholarships that are offered to future and current students,” said Megan Young, Phonathon coordinator.

With a contribution of $20 or more to Mercyhurst’s Annual Fund campaign, donors receive two limited edition Mercyhurst masks featuring the outline of Old Main.

Those who wish to give long term can join the Loyal Laker Program to give. Members of the group make a monthly, automatic donation of via credit/debit card or bank account. Mercyhurst employees can also give via payroll deductions.

Whatever way people choose to give, they now have more freedom to designate their contribution to what speaks most to them.