Georgetown Scholars Program raises $25M, hits endowment goal

The Georgetown Scholars Program (GSP), a university program dedicated to creating a more equitable experience for first-generation college students, will continue in perpetuity, thanks to generous donors who helped the program meet its $25 million goal.

The program offers a support structure that complements Georgetown’s 50-year-old, trailblazing Community Scholars Program (CSP), which offers high-achieving students from under-resourced high schools the opportunity to spend the summer prior to their first year at Georgetown.

Year-round resources—and measurable results

Founded in 2004, GSP provides mentorship opportunities, community-building, and financial assistance for more than 650 students annually. The six-year graduation rate for students participating in GSP is 96.4 percent, compared to the national average of only 11 percent for a similar demographic, and GSP has become a model for other programs around the country.

GSP’s year-round programming includes a 10-week “Mastering the Hidden Curriculum” course that prepares students for college life, the Summer Fellows Program supporting unpaid internships in the Washington, D.C. area, and team-building summits plus speakers and special events planned by the GSP Student Board to address pressing questions and challenges affecting first-generation college students.

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In addition, GSP students benefit from general advising with GSP staff and relationships with alumni mentors as they face academic and professional decisions. A Necessity Fund, meanwhile, provides microgrants for unforeseen expenses—such as emergency travel, bedding, interview clothing, and winter coats—all of which can be crucial for student retention. There is also a full-time staff psychologist on the GSP staff as part of Georgetown’s Jesuit tradition of cura personalis, or care of the whole person.

From grassroots beginnings to a $25M endowment

The original program was sustained by current-use (immediately expendable) gifts that covered programmatic needs and provided microgrants to students with unexpected expenses. When the university asked donors to support making the program a permanent part of the university, 418 unique donors made pledges to secure a $25 million GSP endowment.

“This has been a community effort, and we are extremely grateful to our dedicated fundraising committee and the ultimate vision and mentorship of [Undergraduate Admissions] Dean Charles Deacon,” says GSP Executive Director Melissa “Missy” Foy (C’03).

“The students in the Georgetown Scholars Program make our campus more accessible, vibrant, and inclusive,” says Corey Stewart (F’15), director of outreach and engagement for GSP. “We are thrilled to now have an endowment that allows us to strengthen our community and expand our programming in areas like mentorship, staff advising, and microgrants to make for a more enriching experience for future GSP Scholars.”

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