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Goal: $7,000,000

Your gift will increase both the number and size of scholarships.

Given that 8 out of 10 students must borrow money to pay for their education, scholarship support has never been more urgent. With rising costs of education and decreasing amounts of state and federal support, scholarships are essential for providing access to deserving students and to recruit academically promising students. Scholarships help to elevate the entire institution's intellectual capital as well as fulfill our historic mission of making the best in higher education affordable to all.

In 2011-2012, SUNY Potsdam awarded more than $3 million in scholarships to 988 students.

To accommodate a projected growth in enrollment and to help families meet the growing need for financial assistance, the College seeks to raise an additional $7 million for the scholarship fund. This will ensure scholarship assistance to at least 200 more students each year, which represents a 20% increase in the number of students receiving scholarships annually. Through the generosity of donors, SUNY Potsdam is able to offer two types of scholarships:

  1. Need-based Scholarships
    While the student body at Potsdam is diverse in many ways, there are some striking similarities in economic background that indicate high financial need: 97% of Potsdam students apply for financial aid, but only 73% qualify for assistance. Unfortunately, many students fall just short of meeting federal low-income guidelines for aid yet they truly lack the necessary resources to pay for college. Ultimately, 78% of students take out student loans.

    However, access to loans is becoming increasingly difficult. Given that SUNY Potsdam has a high rate of first generation students (29% have parents who are not college educated), and a high rate of low-income students (29% of our student body), scholarship support has never been more urgent.

  2. Academic Scholarships
    Gifted students inspire faculty and bring out the best in fellow learners. But academically talented students, as well as those gifted in the arts, are all too easily lost to well-endowed institutions able to offer substantial scholarship support. Despite the fact that SUNY Potsdam does attract smart students - 96% of our students graduate from high school with A and B averages - it is often challenging to attract the "best of the best" due to limited scholarship awards.

    Offering more scholarships will help Potsdam attract and retain exceptional students whose academic and arts excellence provides them with a variety of attractive scholarship offers. These students are the world's future scholars, inventors, educators, musicians, artists and leaders, and it is through these extraordinary students that Potsdam can significantly contribute to society's intellectual capital.


In the words of a scholarship donor:

"I'm not a rich person, but when my wife Susan passed away I couldn't think of a better tribute to her life-long love of teaching than to create a scholarship in her memory. I knew this would be financially beneficial to a student, but I didn't expect the impact it would have on me. It has brought me such joy to meet the student and to follow her progress as she learns and grows. I created the scholarship, but Kelly [the first recipient] gave it meaning and purpose."

John Shattuck
Benefactor of the Susan Holly Dierks '75 Scholarship for Early Childhood Education


In the words of a scholarship recipient:

"It is amazing to me that someone you don't know has faith in you and trusts that you will do something important with what's been given to you. I've had the chance to meet Mr. Shattuck [the scholarship donor] and express my appreciation for the scholarship. It's such an honor that I?m carrying on his late wife's legacy. Her commitment to children's education is inspiring to me; she did a lot of what I want to become. It's important for me to give back to those in need."

Kelly Mostyn, Class of 2010
Recipient of the Susan Holly Dierks '75 Scholarship for Early Childhood Education

How to Establish Your Scholarship

With a gift of at least $20,000, you can create an endowed scholarship at SUNY Potsdam - a scholarship that will be awarded every year in perpetuity. Selection criteria are developed by you in consultation with a development officer and the scholarship coordinator in the College's Financial Aid Office. In general, endowed scholarships support the same student through his or her education at Potsdam, provided the student continues to meet eligibility requirements.

Naming Your Scholarship

You may choose to name your scholarship for yourself, or in honor of a loved one, such as a relative, classmate or beloved professor, as a lasting tribute and gift of thanks.

Funding Your Scholarship

Gift pledges may be paid in installments over a period of up to five years. Some donors choose to make annual gifts to their scholarship during their lifetime and endow the scholarship through their estate plan. All contributions are tax-deductible as permitted by law. Ways to fund the scholarship include:

  • Cash, check or credit card payment
  • Secure online giving at:
  • Payroll deduction for employees of New York State
  • Gifts of appreciated securities (stocks and bonds)
  • Estate gifts, such as a bequest (a gift through your will), charitable gift annuities, charitable remainder trusts, or life insurance policies.
The Economic Reality
  • According to the U.S. Department of Education, increases in tuition continue to outpace inflation, health care costs and family income levels.
  • Between 2000 and 2011, average tuition and fees at public four-year colleges and universities rose 42%.
  • The number of borrowers and the average student debt balance has risen 70% between 2004 and 2012. Student debt now totals $966 billion, and is the 2nd largest category of household debt after mortgages.
Annual Scholarship Luncheon
Rita Itkin Schwartz '58 meets the recipient of the scholarship she founded at the Annual Scholarship Luncheon.