College ensures that finances will not be a barrier to graduation
DETROIT, Nov.13, 2012 – Marygrove College is among only a handful of private colleges in Michigan that is taking action to support its students affected by new Pell Grant restrictions that went into effect in July, 2012. The College has committed to ensuring that ability to pay will not prevent students affected by the Pell Grant changes from graduating on time. A key part of this commitment comes from a generous matching gift pledge from new Marygrove Board of Trustees appointee and alumna Nan McDonough Geschke ’64, who has pledged to match, dollar for dollar, all alumni donations during Marygrove’s annual fall appeal.
The Pell Grant restrictions imposed by policymakers in Washington effectively “pulled the rug out” from students who, through no fault of their own, lost funding that they were depending on to complete their college education. New restrictions have increased the household income requirement, scales back the number of funded semesters and disproportionately affects lower income students. In fact, 150 Marygrove students were directly affected and were faced with putting their college dreams on hold because of an inability to pay. The College estimates it will cost between $1M and $1.5M over the next two years to carry out its mission to support these students. To this end, Marygrove has developed a funding strategy to help close the financial aid gap for students who will exhaust their Pell grant funding before completion of their degree. Through this strategy, Marygrove commits to fund the loss of Pell grants for up to the equivalent of two full time academic years, contingent upon students developing a degree completion Plan of Work with their academic advisor.
“We see these steps as a natural response, and in keeping with our urban leadership mission,” said Dr. David J. Fike, Marygrove’s president. ”We want our students to know that we lead by example, and that our mission is much more than words on paper.”
Even before the Pell Grant changes went into effect, Marygrove began advocating strongly on the national level for low income students. Under David Fike’s leadership, Marygrove helped form the “Yes We Must Coalition," a national group of independent universities and colleges whose enrollment comprises a majority of Pell students. Dr. Fike and other members of the Coalition met with Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and have been contacting congressional representatives to educate them about the Pell Grant policy’s impact as well as other issues affecting these students. In concert with other concerned organizations, including the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities, The Education Trust, and the Center for Law and Social Policy, Yes We Must Coalition is urging elected officials to find a way to either:
(1) phase in the new rule so that the time limit is known by colleges, universities and students, when students begin their academic career or,
(2) grandfather-in students who are within three semesters of completing their degree.
In addition to these leadership efforts by the College, newly appointed Marygrove Board of Trustees member and alumna Nan McDonough Geschke ’64, has taken this situation to heart and has personally committed to matching all gifts from alumni and friends of Marygrove during the annual fall appeal.
According to David Fike, “This tremendously generous gift, to support our work over the next two years, represents the largest single commitment of support from a living donor in Marygrove’s history. I am humbled by the generosity and confidence conveyed by Nan’s gift as well as by the growing support of alumni and friends (of the College). Nan and our alumni and friends embody what it means to be an urban leader.”
About Marygrove College
Founded by the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary (IHM) in 1905, Marygrove College is an independent liberal arts college and a Catholic institution of higher learning committed to developing leaders for the new global society. The main campus is situated on 53 wooded acres in northwest Detroit.
8425 W. McNichols Rd., Detroit, MI 48221