We Don’t Take Participation For Granted

In order to help make higher education more affordable, Gonzaga does its best to ensure every student who needs it receives some form of financial aid, including scholarships and grants—but what’s the difference between those kinds of aid? In the grand scheme of things, grants are pretty much scholarships that differ in origin. Whereas a scholarship may be created with donations from individuals or groups, grants are a little different, in that the donations to the fund don’t come from individual people—they come from major corporations. Each year, corporations decide to direct a large sum of money to various institutions because they believe these schools will offer a better overall education for students and that in turn, stronger education will lead to the best potential employees for their company.

But wait! There’s more to it, and this is where you come in. One of the factors helping determine which universities receive the money from these corporations is participation percentage. Gonzaga’s participation percentage is made up of the number of alumni who donate to GU each year, and it can contribute to the perception these corporations have about how successful the University is. They believe that the more people who feel compelled to give back to their school, the more successful that institution must be in fulfilling their mission. So, more Zags giving can lead to more corporations wanting to invest in our school.

What this means is that the number of people who donate is just as important as the amount of money donated. To these companies, our $50,000 donors and our $50 donors are equally meaningful. They’re both participants; therefore, they both end up in the same pool of participation. So, if everyone makes even a small donation, then our participation percentage could rise, as would the amount of money Gonzaga could potentially receive in grants. A bigger grant means more access for students, and who doesn’t like the sound of that?

After two years of working with Gonzaga’s Telefund, it’s been interesting getting to know how grants work, I’ve learned that if everyone pitches in, we can all benefit from the increase in the amount of aid these grants could provide. As a community of Zags who pride ourselves on our ability to achieve the seemingly impossible, this is one more way we can help make a higher education more affordable—by coming together, Gonzaga Will.

By Erin Cairns (’18)