Proceeds of Alumni Society Winter Plunge Presented to Campus Causes
One of the grandest of alumni traditions at Penn State Altoona was expanded upon a few weeks ago when our Alumni Society presented two checks—for nearly $6,200 each—to our college and Penn State Altoona Benefitting THON in support of the society’s endowed scholarship fund and Dance Marathon, respectively. The gifts represented total net proceeds—approximately $12,400—from the society’s inaugural Winter Plunge.
“The Winter Plunge proved to be our most successful fundraising event to date,” said Thomas J. Koehle, president of the society. “Plans for 2014 are already underway, and we are certain it will only grow. It is inspiring for our board to know Penn State Altoona students and THON will directly benefit from our efforts.”
Alumni leaders rotate and the pages of the calendar steadily turn, but student support and philanthropy remain central to the mission of our Alumni Society. The scholarship was fully endowed in the spring of 1999. The first award from the endowment was made in the fall of that year. Approximately $19,500 has been awarded to twenty-eight students over the years, helping to alleviate the financial burden that forces far too many students to consider abandoning their pursuit of a college education.
“The Penn State Altoona Alumni Society’s main focus is supporting students on behalf of our over 30,000 Altoona alums,” said Koehle. “The Alumni Society Endowment is evidence of that support. Our board takes great pride in making college more affordable for worthy students.”
Approximately 85 percent of all applicants to Penn State Altoona require some form of financial aid to enroll. Federal and state aid has remained relatively flat as tuition and costs have increased, thus declining the purchasing power of students for higher education.
During the 2011-12 academic year, Penn State Altoona’s Office of Financial Aid awarded scholarships totaling over $430,000 to 350 students—less than nine percent of the student population, a very small percentage that magnifies the compelling need for scholarship support.
“I am very thankful for receiving an Alumni Society Endowed Scholarship,” said Macy Yingling, a sophomore from Bedford, Pennsylvania, who is majoring in accounting. “The scholarship encourages me to continue to work hard in my classes, my job, and my extracurricular activities. Paying for college is very tough. I really appreciate this scholarship because it is helping me to pay for my education. I hope to make this investment in me worthwhile by excelling in my major and taking advantage of all the opportunities Penn State Altoona has to offer.”
Over 3,400 of our 4,200 students received federal loan aid, incurring more than $30 million in debt. Even with federal loan aid, some of our students were not able to cover the costs of their education and incurred another $6 million in private loan debt. Our University’s Office of Student Aid reports that the average loan debt for Penn State Altoona graduating students with loans is over $39,000.
These statistics illustrate the critical need for financial aid and the tremendous impact that benefactors can have on a student’s ability to manage the financial obligations of a college education.
“The Alumni Society Endowed Scholarship has been a great help in paying for my college education,” said scholarship recipient Justin L. Girven, a senior from Wyalusing, Pennsylvania, who is majoring in Political Science. “This award provides an excellent way to negate some of the costs that are associated with being a student. In addition to the financial support that this award provides, the Alumni Society Endowed Scholarship provides an excellent way to show potential employers that I, as a student, have what it takes to accomplish goals that they are perusing. Both of these benefits make me thankful for the Alumni Society Endowed Scholarship.”
If you would like to make a gift to the Alumni Society Scholarship Fund, please mail a check payable to Penn State Altoona Alumni Society to Office of Development and Alumni Relations, Kazmaier Family Building, 1419 Twelfth Avenue, Altoona, PA, 16601. On-line giving is quick, easy, and secure at https://secure.ddar.psu.edu/GiveTo.