Communique from the Rev. Dennis H. Holtschneider, C.M.
A significant boost in our financial aid budget for the next school year will allow DePaul to continue supporting students like Carlos Jimenez, a junior with a double major in Communication and Digital Cinema. A graduate of the Chicago Public Schools' Curie High School and a first-generation college student, Carlos qualifies for both the Illinois Monetary Award Program or MAP grant and the federal Pell grant.
But that's not enough to finance his education. Closing the gap is a federal direct loan and a substantial grant from DePaul. Without institutional aid, government grants and a direct federal loan, Carlos says he would never have been able to attend DePaul. He is a member of our McNair Scholars Program, which is designed to increase the number of low-income, first-generation and underrepresented students earning doctoral degrees. He also works 25 hours a week at DePaul in several capacities, including mentoring Chicago Public Schools students who would like to go on to college.
Carlos' goal is to earn a Ph.D. and become a college professor. Smart and highly motivated, Carlos will undoubtedly achieve his dream, and I'm pleased that DePaul is playing an important role in his quest for a doctoral degree and a career in academia.
There are countless stories like Carlos' at DePaul. About two-thirds of our institutional aid helps meet the financial needs of our students from economically disadvantaged backgrounds. The other third is awarded through merit- and talent-based scholarships.
Interestingly, in the past five years, 70 percent of students receiving merit aid from DePaul had a financial need as well, and 40 percent of them received both merit- and need-based financial aid. Merit scholarships often serve a dual purpose of enhancing our academic profile and assisting students with financial need, enabling them to earn a bachelor’s degree and benefit from all the career and financial advantages that accompany it.
Our Board of Trustees' recent approval of the university's 2008-09 budget raises institutional financial aid from $83 million to $94 million—a 13 percent increase. These funds are critical to supporting our mission of providing access for students of modest means to a high-quality college education.
The university's new budget will allow us to continue making the dream of a college education attainable for first-generation college students, who are at the core of our mission.