BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) — IU’s Kelley School of Business has received a $1 million donation from an alumnus and his wife to help the school keep students who face financial need. William Bogner and Pamela Barr both served years as professors and administrators at Georgia State University and have established the scholarship to assist students who experience financial hardships while on a degree path, particularly after their freshman year.
“Retention is one of the biggest challenges right now in higher education,” said Bogner,. “Many students are able to get through the first year despite being financially challenged, and then they hit a bump at the start of their sophomore year. Often times, they say that they’re just going to ‘step out’ until they get their financial house in order and then return to school. The reality is that a very large number of those students never return.”
Bogner and Barr say the scholarship will prefer first-generation students who graduated from nearly 30 Hoosier counties with smaller populations, and from Lawrence County, Illinois. Barr says a large percentage of rural students in college are first-generation students.
“For the student’s family, the impact of successful degree completion by a first-generation student can be tremendous,” Barr said. “So when an academically successful freshman cannot return for their sophomore year it is a double loss — for the family and for the community. And it is for these students that the lower average household income and fewer summer work opportunities of rural areas can combine to make what may appear to be a small financial huddle into a roadblock to returning to campus.”
The gift counts toward the university’s For All: The Indiana University Bicentennial Campaign.