Penn State senior Zarna Dalal can focus on her studies this fall with less worry about how she'll meet college expenses, thanks to the Alvin and Jean Snowiss Scholarship that she's just been awarded. The scholarship is one of about 2,300 privately endowed scholarship funds that benefit nearly 10,000 Penn State students.
Even more students are likely to benefit in the future, because the University's total endowment has just surpassed the $1 billion mark, according to President Graham B. Spanier.
Penn State's endowed funds totaled $1.003 billion as of June 30, Spanier said in his annual State of the University message Sept. 8. The figure represents a 27 percent increase from fiscal 1999, when the endowment totaled
"This deserves to be seen as a key milestone in our University's history," Spanier said. "The remarkable growth has resulted from a solid year in both the investment return of our endowment and in new fund-raising."
As for Zarna Dalal, an endowed scholarship means that she can focus more on her studies and upcoming career and less on how she will pay for it.
"The Snowiss Scholarship helps to reduce the heavy burden of a college education," said the Lock Haven native. "Because of the scholarship, I'm less concerned about finding other sources of funds, and I can refocus my time and effort toward activities that can better prepare me for my career."
She continued, "My expenses will increase when I study abroad in Costa Rica next spring, but my scholarship provides a big boost to cover my additional expenses."
Increasing the endowment is a top priority for Penn State's Grand Destiny campaign, which aims to raise a billion dollars in private gifts for endowed and non-endowed programs over a seven-year period beginning July 1, 1996.
The other primary source for endowment growth is investment income. The University invests endowed gifts in perpetuity and uses part of the income to support the programs designated by the donors. Remaining income is returned to the principal to ensure its further growth and protect it from inflation. Penn State's endowment does not include state appropriations or other public funds.
Sean P. Frantti, a sophomore from Moon Township who is working toward a bachelor's degree in Information Sciences and Technology (IST), recently received an endowed PNC Technologies Scholarship.
"The PNC scholarship has helped my financial situation a great deal," said Frantti. "It enabled me to not take out any loans this year, so when I graduate I won't have to pay back as much. It also really helped reinforce my choice of IST, because it made me feel more comfortable with what I was doing."
Penn State also has about 200 endowed faculty chairs, professorships and fellowships. Such endowments are traditionally one of the hallmarks of a great university and are important tools in recruiting and retaining the best available teachers and researchers. Income from a faculty endowment typically supports such activities as teaching innovations, research, stipends for graduate students, equipment acquisitions and may provide a salary supplement.
Endowments also support a variety of programs, such as acquisition funds for the University Libraries and the Palmer Museum of Art.
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