Financial aid the focus of new gift initiative

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Dean Michele Moody-Adams and Veronica Colón '10CC are among those who discuss the importance of financial aid on the Web site for scholarships 101, a new fundraising initiative. / Photo: Jill LevineA new fundraising initiative known as Scholarships 101 is focusing staff, volunteers, and potential donors on financial aid giving to Columbia College, an important component of the ongoing University-wide campaign.

The initiative encourages giving to both the Columbia College Fund and the College’s financial aid endowment. Its name refers to the approximate amount of money still remaining in the $400 million campaign goal for endowed aid.

For the academic year just completed, 52 percent of College students received financial aid packages, with an average value of $36,100. Overall, the College’s investment in student aid has more than doubled in the last five years.

This sizable increase reflects Columbia’s commitment to continue bringing the best students to the College without regard to their ability to pay, even though rival institutions can rely on larger endowments for financial aid. At Columbia College, endowment income funds about 31 percent of financial aid today, with annual giving and tuition supporting the rest.

“At our peer institutions, the funding breakdown is reversed almost exactly, with about 70 percent of the financial aid budgets funded via endowment,” says Michele Moody-Adams, the College’s dean. “Gifts to the Columbia College Fund from alumni, parents, and friends have trended upward in recent years, and will remain critical in the years ahead for financial aid and other College programs. But it’s also vitally important that we build our financial aid endowment to ensure the stability of our overall program.

“The Columbia College experience today is better than ever, better than it was just a few years ago,” Dean Moody-Adams says. “Only with the help of our donors can we continue to bring the most talented, diverse student body imaginable to Columbia College.”

— Marcus Tonti

To hear what Dean Moody-Adams and students have to say about Scholarships 101, visit giving.columbia.edu/scholarships101.

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