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Press Release

Urbana University Announces Opportunity Scholarship-New Opportunity Scholarship Addresses Needs of Families Above Pell Grant Cutoff


Sherry Mercurio
Executive Director, Office of Community Relations

Urbana, OH (October 30, 2018)

Urbana University, a branch campus of Franklin University is proud to announce its new Opportunity Scholarship.  Aimed at helping local communities achieve their education and economic goals, the Opportunity Scholarship creates a partnership with 42 high schools from 18 Ohio counties to uniquely address the needs of accessible and affordable among families most often ignored by conventional financial aid and grant opportunities.

According to federal statistics, students and families in the income bands just above the Pell Grant cutoff ($50,000 - $100,000)  face an amount of unmet need—the difference between what a college costs and what a student can afford to pay—of $10,000 a year, nearly as much as the lowest income families in the United States.

New for the 2019-20 academic year, the Opportunity Scholarship was created to help address the high school to college workforce gap and financial needs, strengthen curricular pathways with partners, to offer enrichment programs and summer camps that support college readiness, and to implement an Opportunity Scholarship of up to $10,000 a year for graduates of Urbana University’s 42 partner schools in the region.

While providing financial access has always been of goal for institutions of higher education, today’s announcement comes as a time of paramount importance as the State of Ohio faces a substantial shortage of working-age adults (ages 25-64) with the postsecondary-level credentials required to fill and succeed in current and future jobs.

Unique in its focus on those underserved by conventional aid, Urbana University’s Opportunity Scholarship helps not only those with the greatest financial need, but also students and families in the income bands just above the Pell Grant cutoff ($50,000 - $100,000)  by providing the funds to help to cover the difference between what college costs and what a student can afford to pay - up to $10,000 and up to $7,500 for commuter students.

"Higher education sits in the venerable position of being able to address workforce gaps,” said Dr. Christopher Washington, Executive Vice President of Urbana University. “While we have the curriculum and expertise to develop students, we must first identify new and innovative ways to address the financial needs that provide access to an education - for all income levels. Our Opportunity Scholarship provides this access for an often forgotten middle band of income.”

To maintain eligibility for the scholarship, Opportunity Scholars must enroll full-time each fall and spring semester and maintain at least a 2.75 Urbana University Cumulative GPA and remain in good academic standing. The goal of the Opportunity Scholarship is to provide more than just financial access.  Through their access and acceptance to the program, recipients will be exposed to a number of skill and character-building activities through the scholarship’s mandated completion of a minimum of one sanctioned and documented activity in the following categories each year of enrollment:

Create:  an academically focused contribution to the campus community
Engage:  a co-curricular focused contribution to the campus community
Inspire:  a service focused contribution to our campus or local community
Give Back:  serve as a mentor (senior year only) for incoming Opportunity Scholars, optimally from their high school of graduation

Opportunity Scholarships will be renewed automatically for up to 8 terms (or up to $40,000 over the course of a student’s four years at Urbana University) or the completion of a bachelor’s degree whichever comes first.

Still in infancy, initial feedback has been positive.  With a November kick-off event planned to formally launch the new Opportunity Scholarship, one local superintendent, Kirk Koennecke of Graham Local Schools, has showed such enthusiasm over the program that he announced plans to introduce the Opportunity Scholarship at an event at his school this Thursday.

About Urbana University - A Branch Campus of Franklin University

Urbana University, a branch campus of Franklin University, prepares students for successful and professional careers within a caring and supportive environment. Regionally well known for education and teacher preparation programs, Urbana was founded in 1850 and acquired by Franklin in 2014. Urbana’s 128-acre, residential campus nestled in heart of Ohio provides a background for students actively engaged in campus activities through 20 student-led academic, professional, performing arts, social and service organizations. Blue Knights athletics includes 17 NCAA Division II sports and three intercollegiate club sports. Urbana University is a division of Franklin University, which is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

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  • Students
  • University