Tuesday, February 17, 2009

MVCC Student Access Fund

Last year an insightful group of faculty and staff recommended that the MVCC Foundation bring focus to the annual gift campaign. From that recommendation and subsequent campus conversations, the MVCC Student Access Fund was created to provide assistance to students who have a household income too high to qualify for federal financial aid and yet too low to make the cost of college affordable. In the few weeks following the creation of the fund last spring, 100% of the Board of Trustees and record numbers of faculty and staff raised $21,000. Their efforts provided 81 students with $200 stipends this past fall. Given the feedback we received from so many of these students, we know every bit of aid makes a big difference.

We are looking to build on the $5,000 that remains in the fund to establish a permanent endowment for the MVCC student access fund. This will take a couple of years if we are to continue making annual awards, but with the commitment we have internally and the potential we have for appealing to donors in the community, we can do it.

As part of the MVCC Foundation Annual Fund Appeal to faculty and staff, I invite you to consider the Access Fund. More than 40% of MVCC students come from families who earn more than $35,000 – which prevents them from qualifying for the maximum amount of tuition assistance from the NY State Tuition Assistance Program. For these students whose family income exceeds the limits for maximum TAP awards, MVCC will make an award, depending upon identified need, toward tuition and fees. For students whose family income exceeds the national poverty threshold, but qualify for the maximum amount available from federal and state tuition assistance programs, additional scholarship assistance from The Access Fund will be made available for books, transportation, and other school related expenses.

To be eligible for The Access Fund, a student must:
• Be a New York State Resident
• Submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) by the first day of classes
• Be eligible for the federal Pell Grant Program or the NY State Tuition Assistance Program and received less than $1500 in financial aid
• Be enrolled full time (minimum of 12 credits per semester)
• Have successfully completed a minimum of 15 credits
• Maintain satisfactory academic progress while at MVCC (defined as a GPA of 2.5 or better)
• Reapply each year they are enrolled at MVCC

Similar to our amazing collective effort with the United Way campaign last fall, I have high hopes that we'll exceed our $21,000 level from last year. MVCC faculty, staff and retirees will soon receive information on the MVCC Annual Campaign where they will be able to make their gift. Thank you for your consideration and continued support of our students here at MVCC. For more information on the MVCC Student Access Fund, please contact Frank DuRoss at fduross@mvcc.edu.