Student donations to fill budget gaps

Northern Kentucky University and Chase College of Law are seeking to bolster their scholarship funds by asking graduating seniors and third-year law students to make donations back to their schools.

Members from Senior Challenge, an NKU student group that encourages other students to make donations to a scholarship fund for undergraduates, began advertising the challenge March 21 in the Student Union. They will continue to ask for donations from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. through March 25 on the second floor of the Student Union.

“Their tuition does not 100 percent cover the expense for them to attend NKU,” said Michelle McMullen, assistant director of NKU’s annual fund. “With state funding declining, we’ll become more reliant on gifts from donors.”

According to Senior Challenge’s website, tuition money covers about 61 percent of NKU’s total costs each year. The remaining 39 percent is covered by state funds and private donations.

“This school is supposed to be represented as a cheap school and they still charge for a lot of things I don’t think they should, like parking,” said James Gaskill, a junior anthropology and biology major. “To ask a senior who already has a crazy amount of loans already, I don’t think they’ll want to donate.”

Catlin Sparks, a junior fine arts major, said the donations can be a good thing, if students can afford it.

NKU students are able to donate any amount, but for a donation of $20.11, seniors can have a message printed in the graduation announcement, and a donation of $75 will buy students a personalized brick outside the W. Frank Steely Library.

Donations default to the NKU Fund for Excellence, gifts go to deans and academic departments to use for their most pressing needs, McMullen said. But students can specify a department or fund in which they want their gift applied.

The Student Bar Association at Chase is organizing donations from third-year law students, but are not asked to contribute a specific amount; they are just asked to make a donation. According to an e-mail sent by the Student Bar Association, donations decreased in 2010, and the group is trying to bolster donations.

McMullen stressed that donors do not have to be graduating.

“The sooner we can inform people about the importance of giving back, hopefully the more ready they’ll be to give,” McMullen said. “Hopefully, they’ll feel good about that and continue that for the rest of their life.”

For more information about or to contribute to Senior Challenge, students can visit Donations can be made in person at Lucas Administrative Center in suite 221.

Chase students can visit or mail their donation to: Chase College of Law, Office of Advancement, Northern Kentucky University, 100 Nunn Drive, Highland Heights, Ky. 41099.

Story by Cassie Stone