News

Portland State University’s scholarship initiative surpasses $50 million
Author: Steve Beaven
Posted: April 8, 2015

(Portland, Ore.) April 9, 2015 — The PSU Foundation has raised more than $50 million for scholarships through the Creating Futures initiative, surpassing its initial goal nine months ahead of schedule.

In less than three years, the major initiative has funded more than 100 new scholarships, which will offset falling state support for higher education and tuition hikes for PSU students.

“PSU donors share our commitment to make a college degree affordable for all students,” said PSU Foundation President/CEO Françoise Aylmer. “Because of the overwhelming support we have received, we will continue raising money for scholarships through Creating Futures. Now is the time to build on our success.”

Creating Futures was launched on July 1, 2012. It was designed to attract top students to PSU and broaden access to higher education for those who wouldn’t otherwise have the financial resources to earn a degree.

The major initiative has already made a measureable impact, with the creation of 122 scholarships since it began, an increase of more than 20 percent. PSU’s scholarship endowment has grown from $17 million to nearly $25 million, a 47 percent increase. But it still lags considerably behind the scholarship endowments of the University of Oregon ($162 million) and Oregon State University ($175 million).

“Part of our mission to serve the city is to make our academic excellence as accessible as possible,” said PSU President Wim Wiewel. “It’s one thing to bring students into PSU and quite another to make sure they come out the other side with an excellent education, a degree in hand and not overburdened by debt. Scholarships make that happen.”

Gifts to Creating Futures include $3.6 million from local tech entrepreneurs David and Christine Vernier, as well as $3 million from a donor who wishes to remain anonymous.

For many students, scholarships are the difference between getting a degree or dropping out.

Karla Andrade is a senior majoring in communications and philosophy and the recipient of a President’s Equal Access Scholarship. Her parents are Latino immigrants and she is the first in her family to attend college.

If not for the generosity of donors, she said, “I would not be at PSU.”

Pete Nickerson and Tom Fink, co-chairs of the Creating Futures steering committee, thanked the staff at the PSU Foundation and the steering committee for their diligent work on behalf of PSU students.

“The success of this initiative really illustrates how deeply our donors care about our students and the many challenges they face,” Fink said. “We will continue to make clear to our alumni, business leaders and all Oregonians the value that PSU graduates bring to our economy and our communities.”

About the PSU Foundation

The PSU Foundation is a not-for-profit corporation and is responsible for administering the thousands of private gifts donated annually to Portland State University. Our mission is to support PSU’s mission to be a leading public urban university.

About Portland State University (PSU)

Oregon's urban research university, recognized for excellence in sustainability and community engagement, is located in the heart of downtown Portland. With a motto of "Let Knowledge Serve the City," Portland State University offers more than 200 degrees with opportunities to work with businesses, schools and organizations on real-world projects.

# # #