Last winter, the Catholic University Board of Trustees set a bold challenge: to help the University raise an additional $4 million in order to fund 200 gap-filling impact scholarships for incoming first-year students. 

Thanks to the leadership of the Board and the generosity of our CatholicU community members, the University didn’t just meet that goal — it exceeded it by nearly $1 million, raising enough to fund 235 new impact scholarships. 

This ambitious effort was intended to increase the number of students in the Class of 2026. Impact scholarships provide $5,000 per year in additional financial aid to students with demonstrated need, for a total of $20,000 over their four years on campus. That extra support has allowed 235 students to make their dream of pursuing a Catholic University education a reality.

“The initiative to increase need-based scholarships had a dramatic impact on our class and its cultural and economic diversity. Closing the gap on financial aid allowed a number of students to say ‘yes’ to us this year.”
—Mark Ciolli, dean of undergraduate admission

The incoming class contains 793 students, an 11% increase over the Class of 2025. And because of this initiative, the University saw an 83% increase in students demonstrating the highest level of need among its applicant pool.

Fifty-six donors stepped forward to help achieve this success, including 26 members of the Board of Trustees. Their generosity is an investment in the University’s future, but it’s also played an important role in rebuilding the University’s student population, which decreased over the past two years due to the pandemic.

“I supported the impact scholarship program because those scholarships are an effective way to enable students with financial need to receive the benefit of a Catholic University education and for the University to serve a more diverse student body,” said Elizabeth Meers, University trustee.

Best of all, this initiative strengthened our community by making a Catholic University education accessible to a broad range of students from across the country who might not otherwise have been able to join this special community.

“As donors, we feel our job in the nonprofit world is similar to that in the for-profit world — namely that we be efficient allocators of capital. Impact scholarships are a terrific step in that regard. They allow us to make the remarkable benefits of a Catholic University education available to highly qualified applicants who will not only add greatly to the diversity and academic rigor of the University, but also benefit from the great grace of a Catholic University education.”
Robert Neal, University trustee

Published on: Tuesday, October 25, 2022