By: Kevin Cruz/Contributing Writer
The First Generation Scholarship is becoming a bigger source of hope for incoming students at the University.
In an announcement by President Mark Rosenberg, the scholarship reached its fundraising goal of $516,328, which will be matched 100 percent by the state to make a total of approximately $1 million.
“The First Generation fund is the best way to assist students in need. It has support from president, student government and state of Florida”, said Patrick O’Keefe, president of the Student Government Council at the Modesto Maidique Campus.
Since its inception in 2006, the scholarship awarded more than $3 million in financial support to more than 5,000 students.
Given to students on a first come first serve basis, funds for the scholarship are provided by the FIU Board of Trustees, Foundation Board of Directors and President’s Council. These donors were contacted by the Student Government Association.
According to SGA, 40 percent of students entering the University are first generation students.
Sanjeev Udhnani, vice president of SGA-MMC, was instrumental in providing hope for the project.
In addition to contacting board members and active donors in order to receive funds for the first generation scholarship, he made sure to make it a point to his fellow students to contribute to the cause.
“I’ve taken it personal to fund as much as I can so first-generation students like me can receive the same benefits,” said Udhnani.
Students who qualify for the scholarship must be Florida residents. While they need to be enrolled at the university with a minimum of 6 credit hours, the students must demonstrate financial need.
In addition to the donors providing a large sum of money, SGA also hosted several events throughout the fall semester in order to support the cause of raising money for the first generation scholarship.
Due to the fact that the scholarship is limited to students that display financial need, they have tried to raise as much money as possible.
The SGA interns of 2011 also raised money for the event.
“We have been given the task to help contribute to the future,” said Nyobee McCall, an SGA intern.
“It was a challenge at first to stay focused but we are doing our best: working toward our goal and it feels good to know we are helping future students attend our beautiful campus.”
The SGA First Generation Benefit Event serves the purpose of acquiring funding for the scholarship.
This event takes place every year and it is what brings in most of the donors.
The contact list for the donors was acquired from the Advancement department of FIU.
Their assistance has allowed for the event to run successfully the past two years.
“What we see is that this scholarship program is a partnership between the entire community, the legislature, the public and private sectors, and large and small donors,” said U.S. representative Anitere Flores who has been a long time supporter of the scholarship program, on the First Generation Scholarship website. “This program is working, it’s going directly to the students, and it’s good to know it is not on the chopping block.”