WMU Explains First Step of How Biggest Financial Donation to Public School Will Benefit Students

KALAMAZOO, MI – Freshmen from low-income families will receive up to five years of free tuition at Western Michigan University in the care of The Bronco Promise.

One of the first initiatives made possible by the $ 550 million donation from anonymous donors to the WMU Foundation, The Bronco Promise is set to provide tuition-free Western education for up to five years for first-year students. year Michigan families who earn $ 50,000 or less (in adjusted annual gross income) or who have $ 50,000 or less who have net assets.

The university plans to assign 340 students during the 2022-2023 academic year and around 600 students each year thereafter.

UMM President Edward Montgomery made the announcement Thursday as one of the first initiatives of the Empowering Futures grant. Announcements were made during visits with alumni and others to Detroit, Grand Rapids and Kalamazoo. According to information provided by WMU, students attending Kalamazoo Public Schools or residing in Detroit or Grand Rapids will be given preference for the need-based scholarships. However, all Michigan residents can apply and scholarship applications are due February 15, 2022. The first awards are due to be announced in March.

The Bronco Promise extends federal Pell Grant support to cover tuition costs. To be considered, students must complete the Free Federal Student Aid Application (FAFSA) and participate in financial literacy training.

“In this rapidly changing world, a college education is more important than ever. But the cost of this education has shifted from the public to the student, putting it further and further out of reach for too many. Western Michigan University bridges this gap by taking a holistic view of student success, ”Montgomery said in a prepared statement. “The University is building an ecosystem of financial aid and programmatic support designed to meet students where they are and support them in their ambitions.

Montgomery also announced plans to provide up to $ 6,000 in accommodation and dining scholarships to 110 incoming students for their first year and to offer holistic support for the life experience in the form of a new community. living learning.

Communities located inside the residences on campus will group students according to their academic specializations, but should also give students a chance “to discover their interests while exploring careers, getting involved in campus life. and by upgrading their study skills “. They will also try to listen to students “who are still exploring when they arrive or who wish to build community around a cause, such as social justice, or a skill, such as leadership”.

The Empowering Futures grant of $ 550 million – to be paid to the WMU Foundation over a period of 10 years – will also:

• Help students gain on-the-job experience by providing financial support for internships in private and non-profit organizations. It will fund internship scholarships to help foster career development and scholarships for 1,350 incoming and current WMU students in its first year. And it will subsidize up to $ 3,600 in salaries for up to 100 students each year, according to the university. It will also support additional staffing to help connect students with major employers.

• Support 800 graduate students each year with a need-based scholarship of up to $ 1,000 to be used to cover gaps in their tuition and fees. It will double the number of scholarships currently offered at Western.

According to the university, the Empowering Futures grant is intended to fund scholarships, advance medical education / research, support faculty expertise, increase sports competitiveness and make possible many initiatives focused on the student. Announced in June 2021, the act of philanthropy is considered the largest donation ever made to a public university in the United States. Provided by WMU alumni who chose not to be named, the giveaway allocates $ 200 million to WMU in general, $ 300 million to WMU Homer Stryker MD School of Medicine and $ 50 million to Bronco. Athletics.

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