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April 10, 2024

SVSU raises $129,000 for student retention, completion

Campaign exceeds $90,000 goal

Two students sit at table, talking on black phones

Over two days, Saginaw Valley State University alumni, community supporters and organizations demonstrated their support of Saginaw Valley State University students, contributing $129,040 to help students stay in college or return after a break to complete their degrees.

The SVSU Foundation held a two-day fundraising campaign, Oppor2nity Days, from March 19-20. The Foundation’s goal was to raise $90,000 to support students facing critical financial shortfalls caused by emergencies, exhausted scholarship eligibility, overwhelming life circumstances and other situations.

“We are so grateful for the support of our alumni and friends,” said Ellen E. Crane, SVSU general counsel and interim executive director of the SVSU Foundation. “Despite working one or more jobs and receiving other forms of assistance, many SVSU students face financial shortfalls and unforeseen circumstances that threaten their ability to stay in college. Everyone who contributed to this campaign is making a difference for our students.”

In the United States, 1 million college students drop out each year. Many of them cite personal issues or financial concerns. When students don’t earn their college degrees, they often earn less than their counterparts who finished college. Students who leave college also default on their loans at higher rates than college graduates.

Degree completion is not only beneficial to college students, it also is good for the communities where graduates live and work. College graduates typically earn more – and experience less unemployment – than their counterparts without a college degree. (Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics) Furthermore, a report by Gallup and the Lumina Foundation shows that college-educated individuals are more civically active than those without a college degree.

While most SVSU students receive some form of financial assistance, including scholarships, grants, loans and work-study, these funding sources are not always enough, and students face financial shortfalls. In addition to making college more affordable, scholarship support can enable students to spend more time on classroom work and field-based learning, as well as enriching extracurricular activities. Many academic scholarships at SVSU include a community service requirement, providing benefits to people outside of the institution.

This year, 12 entities pledged more than $46,000 to match donations made during the campaign. They are: Bavarian Inn, Braun Kendrick, Covenant Healthcare, International Fragrance and Flavors, Glastender, Jessica Bentoski Pediatric Dental Specialist, Roberto and Serena Garcia, the Saginaw Spirit Charitable Foundation, Spence Brothers, Tri-Star Trust Bank, the SVSU Foundation board of directors, and staff from the SVSU Foundation and SVSU Office of General Counsel.

The SVSU Foundation held its first day of giving in 2016. Since then, giving day campaigns have raised nearly $600,000 to fund scholarships and programs, a student emergency fund, the Cardinal Food Pantry, Cardinal Closet, athletics programs and other