With the cost of tuition rising and the economy struggling, there has been a huge burden on families with children in college. At Clemson University, President James Barker is turning to major donors for help. Barker has asked some of Clemson’s largest contributorsto give back to the university, not in order to increase its endowment, but rather to help keep students in school who have serious financial situations to overcome. Assistant to the President, Marvin Carmichael, says these funds are to assist students closing in on graduation.
“The president, along with the administrative council, felt that our greatest needs were that of students…helping students,” said Carmichael. “Particularly those that are at the end of their course of study who may have a financial obstacle stopping them from re-enrolling.”
According to Carmichael, some of the funds donated will go directly to upperclassmen that have extraordinary circumstances. “The Grant Program is going to be awarded to students who have dire circumstances–financial circumstances that is–and without this, would not be able to graduate,” he said.
“So, it is targeted at seniors who are experiencing, I’m going to go ahead and call them catastrophic, (like a )loss of a parent. We have some really tragic stories and rather then go into too many of them, just know that there are situations that are dire.”
The rest will be used to supplement work-study programs. According to Carmichael, “The other component of that is to offer work-study to students who are eligible.
“Work-study is a program that is funded by the federal government but the university has to match dollar-for-dollar, 25 percent. Budget reductions have influenced departments to a point where they don’t have the 25 percent to students pay on an hourly basis.”
He says that currently there are twice as many eligible students applying for work-study jobs then there are jobs available. The university has received over $468,000 in total unrestricted gifts for the program.