Friday, Feb. 4, 2022
Dedicated students, distinguished colleagues and dear friends,
“Supporting the best of the best of the best of the best!”
What a pleasure it was to meet dozens of prospective students and their families during our Scholars Day event on the S&T campus last Saturday. These students compete for the prestigious Chancellor’s Scholarship. And they are indeed among the most academically gifted students to come to S&T. To qualify for this award, students must have an ACT score of 31 or better and a minimum grade point average of 3.75.
Most of the students I met last Saturday far exceeded those minimum qualifications. The average ACT of a Chancellor’s Scholarship applicant was 33, and the average GPA was 4.2! These students are truly, in the words of the late Fred Kummer, “the best of the best of the best of the best.”
As I visited with the students and their parents, my thoughts turned to Fred Kummer, our largest donor in the history of the university and the state, and his desire for S&T to be the destination of choice for qualified and deserving students from Missouri and elsewhere. As part of his mandate to us, we are expanding our efforts to make sure that every student who aspires to an S&T education can obtain it, regardless of their economic status. In fact, one lasting legacy of the gift Fred and June provided was to establish the Kummer Vanguard Scholars Program (KVS), which supports up to 500 S&T students annually. We launched this scholarship program last fall, and in such a short time we attracted 460 first-year students into the program! The KVS application and review process is ongoing for this year, and the deadline for the next round of applicants is Feb. 15. So, I encourage all interested and qualified applicants to submit their application for KVS soon.
Because many of our students come from modest economic backgrounds, student financial assistance — which is provided to help students with both tuition and living expenses — is becoming even more critical. The government-sponsored grants and scholarships, student loans, and work-study programs we offer provide a great deal of support but are not sufficient to enable deserving and qualified students to pursue a life-transforming S&T education.
Clearly, private scholarship support for our students has been a critical addition and represents a key component of how our students pay for college. These valuable scholarships awarded to S&T students from private sources are unrelated to university endowments or foundations and are solely designated to be used for educational expenses.
Thanks to the generosity of many of our alumni, the support we offer our incoming students extends well beyond the Chancellor’s Scholarship and the KVS. We offer a wide range of scholarships for undergraduate students as well as fellowships and assistantships for graduate students and scholarship support for undergraduate and graduate international students.
Scholarship support for our students has grown substantially in recent years in our effort to enable more students to pursue an S&T education. Over the past decade, the amount of funds available for scholarships has increased by 52.7%, from $28.3 million to $43.2 million. Over the same period, the number of scholarships available to our students has increased by 47.5%, from 558 in 2011-12 to 823 today, while the annual number of students who received a scholarship has grown from 3,528 in 2011-12 to 4,227 this year, an increase of 19.8%.
Not bad, considering our tuition structure and the great financial return on investment our students receive for their education. The three-year average starting salary for our bachelor’s graduates is about $68,000 – more than twice the average student loan debt for an S&T student, which was $29,005 in 2021. According to a recent Georgetown University study, the ROI of an S&T education over 40 years is almost $1.4 million! That’s why we call an S&T degree a “million-dollar degree”!
Our alumni have always been generous supporters of our students. It’s been that way for well over a century, going back to when the famous copper-mining entrepreneur Daniel Jackling, an 1892 metallurgical engineering graduate, established a loan fund for students. Our corporate supporters have also been generous, starting in 1926 when A.P. Green, owner of the A.P. Green Fire Brick Co. in Mexico, Missouri, awarded scholarships to students majoring in ceramic engineering.
That tradition of our alumni and corporate partners paying it forward continues today, as 95% of our students receive some form of financial aid, either from scholarships, loans, federal and state aid, or some combination of these sources.
We are committed to keeping the quality education you’ve come to expect from S&T accessible to every qualified and deserving student who applies. And we are grateful to our alumni for maintaining the ROI of this great university by investing in the best “human capital” there is: our students, who are truly “the best of the best of the best of the best!”
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