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Auburn University establishes merit-based scholarship catered to students on the basis of need

Auburn University has announced a new scholarship and financial aid initiative designed to make obtaining a college education more affordable for students who otherwise would not have the means to live the Auburn experience.

The newly-announced scholarship program, called Ever Auburn, will make attending Auburn more accessible to deserving students who have the intellect, the drive and the desire — but not the means — to attend.

Bill Hardgrave, provost and senior vice president for Academic Affairs, said the scholarship initiative derives from the very fabric of which Auburn was founded.

“Today, we face a challenge that speaks directly to our core values of education, family and concern for others,” said Hardgrave. “The essence of this initiative is access. We must provide a way for more talented, high-quality students to come to Auburn. We must help them because it’s who we are — it’s in our DNA and who we’ve always been as a land-grant institution.”

According to the university, Ever Auburn Scholarships will assist Auburn in recruiting students who exhibit both merit and need, but might otherwise choose to attend other in-state schools due to affordability. The scholarships also will extend aid to currently-enrolled students who are in jeopardy of not finishing school due to lack of resources.

National merit scholar and chemical engineering major Caleb Kirk understands the importance of scholarships. Kirk is one of six children in his family; as such, he came to terms with the fact that he would have to find a way to self-fund his education.

“Scholarships are my life blood at Auburn,” he said. “I wouldn’t be here without them. I was fortunate to receive multiple scholarships to help me cover all costs, but I know there are people we are missing at Auburn because we aren’t able to offer more financial aid.”

According to the announcement, the Auburn University Foundation announced matching funds that will create up to 150 new scholarships.

The university says that gifts of $30,000 to Ever Auburn Scholarships will be combined with the matching funds to not only help current students but also create an endowment that will serve to benefit future generations of Auburn students. When fully funded, donors utilizing the match will provide more than $9 million for deserving students.

John Morris, senior vice president for Advancement and Auburn University Foundation president, said the institution remains committed to expanding opportunities for future generations to obtain an education.

“The impact of a campaign like this is exponential,” said Morris. “We are committed to opening Auburn’s doors wider to high-performing students who cannot afford an education. Ever Auburn will help us do that.”

Dylan Smith is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @DylanSmithAL