Big Ideas for Students
The most important contribution Washington State University makes to our state is the education of our students. WSU graduates are among the leaders who will shape economies and industries across Washington, the nation, and the world. As more jobs in emerging industries require an education beyond high school, declining state investment in higher education puts the burden on students through rising tuition costs. This all adds up to a college degree which is increasingly out of reach for too many talented young people who lack the financial means to realize their full potential.
Through the Campaign for Washington State University, we seek an infusion of $300 million in private support to provide the scholarships, fellowships, study abroad, and other programs and initiatives designed to help our students get the most out of their WSU education.
Academically strong and motivated students raise the bar for excellence across the University, regardless of their economic or ethnic backgrounds. As we seek to improve our overall academic quality and reputation as a research university, we must become home to more of these talented students, who also are actively recruited by other institutions with much larger scholarship endowments. Substantial investment in scholarship assistance in the form of merit, need-based, diversity, and athletic scholarships for qualified students is essential as the price for an exceptional education rises. By meeting this need, scholarships will allow more of our students to keep their focus on what is most important—the pursuit of knowledge.
Graduate fellowships are vital for strengthening master’s and doctoral programs, for attracting top faculty, for conducting cutting-edge and innovative research, and for enhancing the University’s reputation. Yet WSU lags far behind the nation’s best research universities in terms of graduate fellowships available. Fellowships provide assistance and stipends, and also involve research or teaching responsibilities or other work within an academic program.
Today’s college students seek study and service abroad opportunities enthusiastically. These programs are often life-changing experiences which provide students with a broadened international perspective from which to draw as they enter the global marketplace upon graduation. While approximately half of all incoming freshmen in the United States declare their desire for study abroad, only a small percentage actually take advantage of such programs, largely because of cost. Through the Campaign for WSU, more WSU students will be given the opportunity to practice another language firsthand, and develop cultural awareness and competencies through a study abroad experience. Supporting students for these experiences will give them a leading edge as they compete for jobs in the global economy.