In an effort to relieve the increasing financial pressure felt by families of students seeking a college education, Loyola Marymount University President David W. Burcham launched a three-year, $100 million scholarship initiative Oct. 12.
The initiative is unusual among college fundraising campaigns in that the university aims to raise donations solely for student financial aid, through the LMU endowment and directly funded scholarships, LMU officials said.
“There is no lower-cost substitute for the type of teaching and learning that LMU is committed to delivering,” Burcham said. “In order to strengthen our dedication to academic rigor, maintain a diverse student body, and uphold our core commitment to transformative education, we must make sure every student admitted to LMU can afford to attend.”
Burcham’s announcement comes as the higher education system faces a nationwide affordability crisis, with more and more families forced to take out ever-larger private loans to cover the costs of tuition.
Colleges and universities have also been confronted with spiraling costs, including employee health care and pension obligations, LMU officials noted. For public institutions, state tax revenues continue to be diverted away from higher education as cash-strapped legislatures scramble to balance their budgets, in California and elsewhere, they added.
“While we have implemented budget cuts, held tuition increases to a minimum, and directed a larger proportion of our operating funds to student aid, the costs of higher education keep rising,” Burcham said. “We cannot continue to live in a world where many students are priced out of an LMU education.”
The university has so far raised $5 million toward the $100 million goal during this academic year, according to an LMU spokesman. Burcham’s goal is to add $65 million to LMU’s endowment through the scholarship initiative.