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A photo of Joe Foley.

University of Minnesota scholarships are helping sophomore Joe Foley focus on the opportunities to learn more about his chosen career in genetics.

October is U Scholarship Month

From eNews, October 13, 2005

With a perfect score of 1,600 on his SAT exam while at Mounds View High School, Joe Foley had his pick of colleges. Scholarships funded by 3M alumni and others helped keep him in Minnesota, and so did the University of Minnesota's reputation for excellence.

Joe is one of nearly 6,000 U students who currently receive privately funded scholarships and fellowships--more than a thousand more students than just two years ago. Raising funds for student support has been the U's top private fund-raising priority since 2004, when the U launched the largest effort in its history to raise gifts for student support, the Promise of Tomorrow scholarship drive.

The drive's goal is to increase by 50 percent the number of students receiving privately funded scholarships and fellowships because the University is still near the bottom of the Big Ten in the percent of incoming freshmen who are offered merit scholarships--even though the U has experienced a growth in scholarships the last two years. "Every year we lose far too many of good students because schools in other states offer larger scholarships," says University of Minnesota president Bob Bruininks.

Through August of this year, 31,400 donors had given $84 million toward the drive goal of $150 million. The drive is increasing support for students at all levels and at every University campus and college. "Alumni and friends are responding very generously," says Bruininks.

Scholarships help keep the University accessible and affordable to qualified students regardless of their financial means, and they help attract and keep talented students in Minnesota. The increase in scholarship funding has played an important role in helping the University compete for top students and the fall 2005 freshman class is the most academically prepared in the history of the U.

To emphasize the continued need for scholarship support, Bruininks declared October Scholarship Month. "We're trying to draw more attention to this critical need and get out the message to more people who want to help our students succeed," he says, noting that students with scholarships graduate on time at a rate up to 35 percent higher than other students. "Scholarships help make it possible for students to focus on academics and take advantage of the incredible opportunities here at the U."

Joe Foley is finding those opportunities. Only a sophomore, Joe has already worked in the labs of plant biology faculty who are among the very best in the world. "That's something I couldn't have done at other universities that don't have the same focus on research," says Joe, who wants to pursue a career in genetics.

For more information about the Promise of Tomorrow scholarship drive, call 612-624-3333 or 800-775-2187, or see giving to the U.