Chris Harrison, For The Miami Student

Miami University has decided to make its educational experience more attainable for prospective students by raising $50 million in need-based and merit-based scholarship money in the next five years.

Miami’s decision to raise $50 million in scholarships was in response to recommendations by the Strategic Priorities Task Force, Brad Bundy, interim vice president of University Advancement, said.

“One of the ways in which they felt that we could improve fiscally is to provide more scholarships for need based and merit based students,” Bundy said.

Bundy’s division accepted a $50 million scholarship goal to be raised within five years through the For Love and Honor Campaign. So far, they have raised $3 million.

“[The task force] basically looked at all the finances of the university in terms of resources and allocations and then came back with a series of recommendations, and the number one recommendation was to increase private fundraising for scholarship support,” Bundy said.

Although the original goal set by the Task Force was only $40 million, Bundy said he and his division knew they could raise an additional $10 million within five years.

Susie Sadler, Director of Development for University Projects, said this is a huge increase from Miami’s past scholarship f undraising goals.

“Prior to the $50 million goal, we haven’t been this focused on scholarships,” Sadler said. “We quickly found out through the Strategic Priorities Task Force recommendation this is an area we need to beef up.”

Raising scholarship funds took precedence over other university goals because 70 percent of students enrolled at Miami take advantage of some form of financial aid, Bundy said.

According to Sadler, such a goal was also set in order to attract the best possible students to Miami.

“There’s only so much money that the university itself can put toward these scholarships,” said Sadler, “So the goal is to really increase the amount of scholarships we can offer.”

Bundy agreed.

“The students obviously are the heart and soul of the institution and our goal is to make sure a diverse and exceptionally well rounded student body experience Miami,” Bundy said.

Most of Miami’s scholarships are endowment-based, Bundy said.

“Donors and alumni will give the university and a sum of money and then that money is invested every single year, and a portion of the earnings is used to award a certain student,” Bundy said.

Despite the Task Force’s goal, other university donor projects, such as the Armstrong Student Center, have made it more difficult to raise money for projects like this, Sadler said.

Bundy plans for more than half of the $50 million to go toward recruitment scholarships, with other funds aimed specifically at specific departments and divisions within the university.

Senior Lance Samples said that he supports Miami’s goal of raising $50 million dollars in scholarships.

“It’s a good initiative in my view,” Samples said. “It’s a good opportunity to help those that need scholarships, while allowing those that have the resources to help show their love and honor for Miami.”

First-year Andy Waugh agreed.

“It’s great to hear that Miami is doing something in terms of raising scholarship money,” Waugh said. “When I was applying, that was one of the factors that compared unfavorably with other schools.”