The Georgetown Scholarship Program is working toward operating from its own endowment within the next two years, and it is already nearly halfway to its endowment goal of $25 million.
The endowment would be allocated not to providing scholarships for GSP students, but instead to maintaining the operations of GSP. GSP Director Missy Foy (COL ’03) said the separate endowment will allow GSP to operate independently of the university.
“Everything that we do out of GSP, aside from the actual scholarships, will be done by the endowment, so we won’t cost the university anything anymore,” Foy said.
The program raised approximately half the endowment goal in two years, according to Foy.
“Every day we find out about a new gift. Our board is extremely aggressive and effective with it,” Foy said.
GSP was founded in 2004 by Dean of Undergraduate Admissions Charles Deacon (CAS ’64, GRD ’69) and Dean of Student Financial Services Patricia McWade to facilitate low-income and first-generation college students’ successful transition into life at Georgetown. One hundred seventy-eight students from the Class of 2020 joined the program, which currently serves 650 undergraduate students.
GSP offers its students a range of services, including in-house Counseling and Psychiatric Services office hours for students and partnerships with Jos. A. Bank and Ann Taylor LOFT to provide students with professional attire for internship and job interviews.
GSP Advisory Board Chair Michelle Mauboussin (MSB ’86) said the endowment’s completion would bring much-needed relief for the program.
“We’re always kind of, ‘Oh my gosh, are we going to have enough money to do this? Are we going to have enough money to do that?’ We’re always worried,” Mauboussin said. “The biggest thing is there are not enough staff members. They’re working so hard, and they love what they do, but they could use more support.”
The $25 million endowment would provide the program with about $1.25 million a year. The funds would help the program expand current opportunities for students, including professional development events, alongside an increase in the GSP Necessity Fund, a $300,000 fund that helps students cover unexpected expenses such as dental expenses or unexpected flights home.
While GSP’s office is currently located in the basement of Healy Hall, Mauboussin said she hopes the program can move into new offices once the endowment goal is met.
“If one of the staff is having a meeting with one of the students, they are basically in a cubicle with everyone walking by — there’s no privacy,” Mauboussin said. “One of the goals of the endowment is to move out of Healy basement and move into two townhouses side-by-side, have a nice living and learning space and have more privacy for meetings with students and staff.”
Mauboussin said socioeconomic and academic factors play a large role in selecting incoming freshmen to the program during the admissions process.
GSP students receive the 1789 Scholarship of about $3,000 per year, which seeks to reduce the cost of the loans many Georgetown students need to pay back after graduation.
Mauboussin said the 1789 Scholarship aims to bridge the gap between Georgetown’s financial aid packages and those of other peer institutions.
“Our financial aid packages aren’t that great, so GSP is a way to attract these top-notch, amazing students to Georgetown’s campus,” Mauboussin said.
GSP Assistant Director Corey Stewart (SFS ’15) said the fact that many universities, such as the University of Pennsylvania, now offer debt-free, loan-free financial aid in the form of grants, creates a huge competitive disadvantage for Georgetown.
“If Penn is offering you a no-loans package, obviously you’re going to choose Penn,” Stewart said.
Mauboussin said GSP’s programming and support for students beyond scholarships is what makes it unique.
“They might not have the support system at home where people are familiar with the whole system,” Mauboussin said. “If you’re only given a scholarship, you’re just kind of thrown in there, and it becomes a little sink-or-swim — a lot of people sink. With this support system, you have a much higher graduation rate, and you also have a much better experience.”
Correction: This article previously stated the GSP necessity fund is a $200,000 fund. This amount is inaccurate and is about $300,000. The article also previously stated the value of the 1789 scholarship is $2,000-$3,000; it is $3,000 annually. This article also previously stated GSP has 187 first year students; GSP has 178 first year students.