“I have the wonderful task of telling you how special you are,” began Provost Linda Bell as she addressed a group of scholarship recipients on Wednesday. The students, who had all been awarded named scholarships, gathered in the Stokes Multicultural Center for the annual pizza lunch and discussion about the responsibilities that come with receiving this type of financial aid.
At Haverford this year, 594 students—50 percent of the student body—are receiving aid from the College. Most of those students receive Haverford Grants, which include funds from a variety of sources, including the Annual Fund, and which are truly grants, not loans, reducing students’ debt burden upon graduation.
Additionally, there are 252 named scholarships at the College that have been established by alumni and other donors over a period of years and which have restricted purposes, such as supporting a student from a particular region of the country or whose studies fall within a specific field. These funds replace Haverford Grants dollar for dollar and, like all financial aid at Haverford, are awarded based on need, not merit. These scholarships are matched with students by a committee of College administrators that include staff from the Dean’s office, the Office of Financial Aid and the Office of Institutional Advancement.
Linda Bell was the guest faculty speaker at the event. “Scholarship donors believe in access and helping young people,” she told the assembled students. “Many had scholarships themselves and want to pay back what they received.” She also reminded them that, “there is no free lunch, there are responsibilities,” and encouraged them to connect with the donors of their scholarship funds by sending a thank-you note, making a phone call or meeting with them if the opportunity arises.
Michael Kiefer, vice president for institutional advancement, told the students that they were now part of a continuum of alumni and students who care for one another. He also shared some of the financial realities that come with Haverford’s commitments to need-blind admission and offering grants instead of loans. In 2011-2012, the College’s budget is $77 million. Of that, $20 million—the second largest item after salaries—is devoted to financial aid.
In closing, Kiefer expressed what is at the core of financial aid at Haverford: “Students must be able succeed in a world where bridging difference is an essential skill. Our financial aid policies are an extension of Haverford’s values and allow us to create the most diverse community possible, in which students become agents for social change. It is, simply, right and proper for Haverford to enable all qualified students who are admitted to have their financial need met.”
Photos by Jonathan Yu ’12