Monday, May 18, 2009

Don't Count your Scholarship so Fast

For all of those who get money from the University for different purposes, the following news may not come easy to you. I hope that no one we know will be affected by this news, but since we are tight-nit community, I have a feeling it will be:

University of Georgia officials plan to cut back grants for scholarships, faculty travel and other expenditures funded by profits from the hundreds of millions of dollars in assets owned by the UGA Foundation and its younger cousin, the Arch Foundation.

Usually, the foundations' investments generate millions of dollars in profits. Managers spend some on university programs, then plow the rest back into investments.
But this year, UGA's endowments and other investments lost a third of their value as prices for stocks, real estate and other investments tanked.

In some cases, administrators will use UGA operating funds to replace foundation money that pays expenses such as faculty research travel.

"It hurts. We have to take money that we could have spent somewhere else," UGA President Michael Adams said.

As of June 30, 2008, the older UGA Foundation's total assets stood at $647 million. The 4-year-old Arch Foundation had about $81 million in assets as of June 30, before the sharp market slide, according to the foundation's annual report.

But dozens of scholarships, research support and other programs likely will get cut, he said.

UGA also may reduce the number of students offered the university's prestigious Foundation Fellow scholarships, which offer recipients not only money for school expenses but special benefits such as educational travel.

Administrators do not plan to cut another scholarship program, the Charter Scholarship, which gives $1,000 a year to students based on academics. More than 330 entering freshman got the renewable scholarship last year.

UGA will reduce grants for some faculty members who hold prestigious professorships and chairs.

Endowment-generated money for graduate assistantships, research expenses and research-related travel could be cut for some, Mace said.

Let us hope that we will get this economy back under control soon. I believe that, if we want to remain competitive in a global market, we are going to have to provide post-secondary education to everyone.