$15M funding plan announced
Sep 18, 2012 | 1751 views | 0 0 comments | 12 12 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Dr. John Hilpert, Delta State University president, announces a $15 million scholarship initiative.
Dr. John Hilpert, Delta State University president, announces a $15 million scholarship initiative.
Helping students achieve their goals was the bottom line in a $15 million scholarship initiative announced Monday by Delta State University.

"This is one of the most important announcements I've ever been a part of," said Keith Fulcher, director of the Delta State Alumni Foundation.

Before the official announcement, Fulcher said the scholarship initiative will take place between now and 2015 in an effort to create scholarships for students and lessen their burden.

As of Monday, the university had already raised $7.8 million for scholarship.

"I'd love to hand over to the new president this thermometer fully filled and boiling at the top," said DSU President Dr. John Hilpert in reference to a goal thermometer.

Hilpert will be retiring in December and the Institutions of Higher Learning is currently interviewing for the position."

Hilpert said years ago that years ago when a student wanted an education, "they only borrowed when they had a little bit at the end and generally they didn't have a huge loan debt.

"Over the last 35 years, we've seen a gradual or not so gradual change in how they fund their college experiences," he said, adding that government funding for education is becoming more difficult.

"Just in this last two year cycle we've seen the end of Pell Grants for summer study and the amount reduced so not many families qualify for the maximum of Pell Grants."

Hilpert also said students are choosing careers on the amount of debt they may be incurring which oftentimes leaves out the helping professions, like teaching and social work, because the pay is low.

"These are just the kind of professions that are so important in the Mississippi Delta.

"So for the sake of our students and for the sake of our communities and our school districts … and the people of the Mississippi Delta that we serve. We are going to focus our attention over the next couple of months raising scholarship dollars."

For the 2011-2012 academic year, the average annual amount of student loan per student was $8,091.

The average amount of debt for students at graduation was $19,579 and the total number of students who applied for financial aid was 2,583.