WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – A $1 million donation from Give Something Back will help provide full-ride scholarships to Wichita State University for about 50 first-generation students who face circumstances making it challenging for them to attend college.
The gift to the WSU Foundation was announced at a news conference today on the Wichita State campus where Give Back Founder and Chairman Robert Carr presented an oversized check for $1 million to WSU President John Bardo.
“Wichita State serves the most diverse population of any public university in Kansas, and as such we are committed to helping first-generation students overcome tough obstacles get a college degree,” Bardo said. “We are grateful to Give Back for a gift that will greatly enhance our efforts.”
An entrepreneur, philanthropist and author, Carr founded Give Back in 2003 to provide scholarships and mentoring to help Pell Grant-eligible students attend college and graduate in four years.
The Illinois-based organization has put an emphasis on assisting students who are foster children and/or have parents who are incarcerated.
Students are selected in the ninth grade so they can participate in college-prep programs and mentoring relationships to improve their chances of success in college. During high school, they must maintain a grade point average of 3.0 or better and demonstrate strong character.
The Give Back program has about a 90 percent graduation rate for its scholarship recipients.
In order to provide full-ride scholarships to the recipients once they graduate from high school and enroll at Wichita State, Wichita State will contribute about $1.4 million to the $1 million gift from Give Back. Scholarships will include tuition, fees, room and board.
The WSU Foundation will raise private funds to help cover the university’s commitment, said Keith Pickus, WSU Foundation vice president.
About 75 percent of the goal has been raised to date. One of the top campaign priorities is to increase scholarship dollars to WSU students by 83.5 percent.