Incoming students at Lycoming College with the greatest financial need will benefit from a $75,000 Hearst Foundations grant starting with the 2016-2017 academic year. The grant will help students from low-income families remain in school and graduate with less debt.
“This grant is one more tool that will help us continue our tradition of providing access to a high-quality education for all students,” said Lycoming President Kent C. Trachte. “Our society benefits when all young adults have hope that, given a little boost, they can create a better life through persistence and hard work.”
Grants will be given to freshmen from families with incomes low enough for the federal government to establish their Estimated Family Contribution (EFC) for tuition at $0. For the past six years, about 15 percent of incoming students at Lycoming College are in this category, representing a jump from just five percent of the student population in preceding years.
On average, students with an EFC of zero have borrowed nearly $8,000 in first-year loans. Statistically, these students are also more likely to leave college because of financial concerns. While The Hearst Foundations grant should help move Lycoming’s retention number higher, the college already retains about 77 percent of students from financially-challenged families. In contrast, the national average for private schools retaining freshmen into their sophomore year — regardless of their ability to pay — is just 71 percent.
Lycoming College has recently partnered with a number of charter networks educating students from underserved urban school districts. This initiative responds to the national imperative to educate the growing number of students of color from urban areas who are the first in their families to attend college. With the success of these partnerships in enrolling high-quality students at Lycoming, the college has continued to increase its budget for student financial support.
The $75,000 grant represents Lycoming’s first from The Hearst Foundations. “The Foundations strongly believe in Lycoming’s mission and in its commitment to its students and their success,” said Mason Granger, director of grants of The Hearst Foundations. “We’re proud to support the college’s efforts to enhance financial aid.”
The Hearst Foundations are national philanthropic resources for organizations working in the fields of culture, education, health and social services. The Hearst Foundations identify and fund outstanding nonprofits to ensure that people of all backgrounds in the United States have the opportunity to build healthy, productive and inspiring lives.