Through the generosity of committed supporters, the Naveen Jindal School of Management has been able to award $498,495 in donor-based scholarships to 407 undergraduate and graduate students during the 2020-2021 academic year.
Such scholarships typically come from named endowments given by generous alumni and friends of UT Dallas. One $50,000 endowment provides two $1,000 scholarships per year. Because only the interest is used to fund the scholarships, the endowed fund provides an ongoing and permanent source of scholarship support each year that is awarded in the name of the specified donor, Doug Anderson, the Jindal School’s assistant dean of development and alumni relations, explained.
Anderson would love to see enough donations to award a scholarship to every student in need. “There is always a great need for scholarship support, and we have many more students who apply than funds available,” he said.
The scholarships are “launching brighter futures for our students. They’re able to graduate on time or continue for advanced degrees,” Anderson said. “Donor scholarships can bridge the gap between the money the students have available and the amount needed for their education.”
For other students, the scholarships are more of a springboard than a bridge, Anderson said. For these students, scholarships may allow them to work fewer hours and spend more time on their studies, networking and other career-building opportunities.
“Other students told about all the things they were doing in their free time, like model U.N. [United Nations]. I wished I could do that, but I had to make sure I could finance everything by working on campus,” Wallace said. “[I knew that] if I got some of these scholarships, I could invest that time into exchange programs, internships, extracurriculars and the Bill Archer Fellowship program in Washington, D.C. — which I was able to do partially because JSOM gave me this funding and gave me the opportunity to go to Washington, Latvia, France and the U.K. for summer internships.”
As a Latino woman and a first-generation college student, senior Mariela Tinoco said she initially felt intimidated going into the STEM field of cybersecurity, which seemed dominated by white males. However, receiving a donor scholarship made her feel that someone believed in her enough to invest in her. She now feels more confident entering the field to break down some of the gender and race barriers there, she said.
Tinoco, who is majoring in information technology and systems, also worried about finances when the COVID-19 financial fallout left her without work for two months.
“I don’t ask my parents for money, because I know they have their own struggles, and I don’t want to add more weight to that,” Tinoco said. “Thank goodness for this scholarship. I now can truly 100 percent focus on school.”
Vanlexus Franks, a marketing senior focusing in sales and minoring in entrepreneurship, was also deeply affected by the coronavirus pandemic.
“I lost my paid internship job offers because of COVID,” she said. “Then my parents got COVID, and I couldn’t work that many hours because I needed to be home to help them. I was looking at what I owed [for school], and the dots were not lining up.”
Franks, a first-generation college student who aspires to develop a financial literacy app for children growing up in low-income families like hers, has a goal to take on as little student loan debt as possible. Donor scholarships have allowed her to meet that goal, she said.
“These scholarships have a long-term impact. Every little penny helps. They transform people’s lives. There’s someone out there who needs a scholarship even more than I did, and they will truly benefit,” she said.
Donor scholarships also help nontraditional students. Theresa Kramer owns her own accounting business and has raised two children.
“I talked to my children through all of these years about how important college is, but I hadn’t finished,” she said. “I did not like admitting I had not completed college and telling my children it was something they should have.”
Receiving a donor scholarship is allowing Kramer, an accounting major, to graduate a year earlier than expected since she can afford to take more courses, she said.
For Kaitlyn Kitchen, a senior majoring in finance with a concentration in risk management and insurance, a large donor scholarship came at just the right time.
“A week after I got the scholarship, I also found out I have skin cancer,” Kitchen said. “Being able to pay off [some] school took the stress off of having to pay for surgery and all that followed.”
Kitchen cried when she was notified about the scholarship award and realized what it would mean for her education, she said.
She hopes to someday fund a scholarship herself so she can give someone else the same opportunity.
Kitchen, Kramer, Franks and Tinoco stressed the importance of students in need applying for a Jindal School donor scholarship.
“Believing in yourself is going to benefit people other than you. If you’re working hard and have a goal, go for it,” Franks said.
Any person or organization interested in contributing to or establishing a named endowment may contact Doug Anderson at the Jindal School Development Office at 972-883-5855 or email@example.com.
— Sarah Ganbat