For many prospective students, there’s only one thing standing between them and an education that will change their lives – money.
That’s why donations are critical to providing scholarships and financial support for students pursuing their educational dreams.
You can help make someone’s dream a reality.
Brandon native Kaylynn Steen, 20, is just one of the School of Journalism and New Media’s scholarship recipients. She was awarded the Clay & Krista McFerrin Sun-Sentinel Scholarship that is helping fund her studies as a double major in journalism and public policy leadership with a minor in Spanish.
“This scholarship is helping me to fund my cost of tuition at the school,” she said. “One of the biggest barriers of students seeking higher education is finances, so I am extremely grateful to have this scholarship to help alleviate some of that stress.”
The scholarship will also help Steen give back to the community.
“After college, I plan to work in political advocacy and the nonprofit sector,” she said.
William Fisher, who recently served as a development associate for the School of Journalism and New Media, says there are good reasons why scholarship money is so important.
“The University only receives about 12.9% of its budget from the state,” he said. “Decreased state appropriations for public universities is a trend across the country. Therefore, private support is crucial to propelling the University of Mississippi ever forward and helping increased numbers of students with scholarships. Fortunately, our university enjoys highly engaged alumni and friends, who care very deeply for Ole Miss and students.”
Fisher said donations benefit integrated marketing communications (IMC) and journalism students in the following ways.
· Reduces the financial burden of the costs of college.
· Allows students time to focus on studies rather than part-time work.
· Gives students an incentive to do their best work.
· Encourages students to complete their degrees.
· Builds students’ confidence in their ability to have a better future.
· Benefits larger society and economy when individuals earn degrees.
One of the School of Journalism and New Media’s priorities is to provide more scholarships for students studying integrated marketing communications (IMC).
“When looking at the number of scholarships that are strictly dedicated to assisting IMC majors, there are only a few,” Fisher said. “Most scholarship endowments created for the school were for journalism majors. To understand, you have to take into account that the IMC program has not been around that many years.”
However, IMC majors may be receiving scholarships that are not school-specific, Fisher said. For example, UM offers scholarships based on academic achievements, financial need, geographical areas, leadership, community service, etc. There are those for transfer students from community colleges and those for children of alumni. Fortunately, the list of scholarships is long.
Interim Dean Deb Wenger said UM has some extraordinary applicants who just cannot afford our programs. Scholarships help put the advantage of a college education in the hands of some of those students.
“One misconception that people have is that you have to have millions of dollars to make a difference,” she said. “We have many, many scholarships that accept contributions at any amount. For example, you can help support our Talbert Fellows, a scholarship designed to support applicants who are already doing work as journalists or integrated marketing communications practitioners, even while they’re still in high school.
“There is also the Women in Communications Scholarship and dozens more that honor some of our most respected former faculty and alumni, including Curtis Wilkie or Pamela Hamilton. Adding a few more dollars to those endowments honors them and supports students.”
“I highlight the Talbert Fellows as one of our newest,” she said. “For students who have worked for high school student media in Mississippi, there is the Beth Fitts Scholarships. The Thomas Family Scholarship honors one of our most successful alumni in the area of integrated marketing communications – John Thomas. I encourage anyone interested in our programs to spend some time looking at our scholarship opportunities online.”
If you are interested in establishing or contributing to a scholarship, contact Wenger at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This story was written by LaReeca Rucker.