SF State News {University Communications}

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News Release


SF State awarded $1 million to establish scholarship endowment

Gift from the Bernard Osher Foundation will provide support to older students seeking
Baccalaureate degrees


SAN FRANCISCO, October 15, 2008 –A $1 million gift from the Bernard Osher Foundation to San Francisco State University will make college more affordable to students who start higher education late in life or return after a significant break. The funding will establish a re-entry student scholarship endowment that will award $2,000 scholarships to at least 25 outstanding undergraduate students each year. SF State is one of only 28 higher education institutions to be endowed by the Osher Foundation for this purpose.

The Foundation provided SF State grants of $50,000 for each of the past two years. SF State was awarded the endowment after successfully administering the scholarship program during that time.  In addition to the endowment, the Osher Foundation has provided a $50,000 grant to support 26 scholarships during the 2008-09 academic year.

"We are honored by the Osher Foundation's support and grateful for their generosity," said Jo Volkert, associate vice president of enrollment management. "Each year SF State admits hundreds of re-entry students. These scholarships will help some of our most determined and deserving students."

The significant number of re-entry students at SF State is reflected in the average age of its undergraduate student body. At 23, the average undergraduate is considerably older than those at other institutions. This year's re-entry scholarship recipients range from 26 to 50 years of age. Some of these students are returning to school after serving in the armed forces, while others left college to raise families or care for ailing friends and relatives. Several recipients are immigrants from Russia, Mexico and African, Asian and Caribbean countries.

"The Bernard Osher Foundation is delighted to recognize San Francisco State University in this way," said Mary Bitterman, president of the Osher Foundation. "Re-entry students often have unique needs, including career counseling and familiarization with new information technologies, which they have to balance with obligations to family and work. San Francisco State has a solid foundation and reputation for providing such support."

SF State is the only master's level public university serving the counties of San Francisco, San Mateo and Marin. The university enrolls more than 30,000 students each year. With nationally acclaimed programs in a range of fields -- from creative writing, cinema and biology to history, broadcast and electronic communications arts, theatre arts and ethnic studies -- the University's more than 140,000 graduates have contributed to the economic, cultural and civic fabric of San Francisco and beyond.

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