Doing more for nontraditional students

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Venture capitalist Larry J. Lawrence ’69GS, ’71BUS and an anonymous donor have each pledged $1.5 million to initiate a matching program at the School of General Studies. Their collective contribution of $3 million will be used to match, one-to-one, future gifts of $100,000 or more for scholarship endowment at the School of General Studies, which is Columbia’s undergraduate program for nontraditional students.

The new matching program, if successful, would raise a total of $6 million for financial aid at the School of General Studies. The school, as part of its ongoing fundraising campaign, is aiming to raise, by 2011, $15 million for scholarship endowment and $10 million in annual giving to support financial aid and key programs. Today, the school’s graduates confront more than $40,000 in student-loan debt, on average. The school, because of its limited financial endowment, can offer only about half of what Columbia College students can expect in financial aid. School officials hope to provide more grants in the future and thereby continue to attract the best nontraditional students.

“It’s really up to us as General Studies alumni to make the same kind of commitment as have our friends at Columbia College,” says Lawrence, who is the founder and managing partner of a series of venture capital funds, the most recent of which is Allegra Capital Partners. “The opportunity to attend GS provided a life-changing, transformative experience for those fortunate enough to have been its beneficiaries. Now, more than ever, we can help put the school in a position to provide continuing opportunities for nontraditional students.”

Visit https://giving.columbia.edu/giveonline/.

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