Emerald Eagle Scholars endowment grows, thanks to matching funds

By: 
Jaime Blanton, Division of Advancement

UNT’s Emerald Eagle Scholars program, which provides financial assistance to academically talented students with high financial need, reached a milestone in October. An endowment funding the program exceeded $590,000, thanks to support from the U.S. Department of Education and generous donors.

The Emerald Eagle Scholars program received $295,000 from donors over a five-year period. Those funds were then matched by the U.S. Department of Education, as part of a comprehensive, institutional Title III grant.

The award represents the maximum amount for which UNT was eligible, said George Wendt, right, assistant vice president for advancement services.

When UNT applied for Title III funding in 2007, the application included a specific earmark for the Emerald Eagle Scholars program contingent on the university’s ability to raise private support for the program, he said.

“The Emerald Eagle Scholars program was included in the Title III grant, because it is an ideal example of the grant is supposed to do - act as a force multiplier for student success, said Dale Tampke, lower right, dean of undergraduate studies and the principal investigator for the Title III grant. “When we are able to combine private funds, state support, and federal dollars to provide opportunities for students like those who participate in the Emerald Eagle Scholars program we create the best kind of synergy.”

Thanks, in part, to the success of the Emerald Ball, an annual black-tie benefit held to support the program, UNT was able to raise enough private funding to make UNT eligible for the federal matching funds, Wendt said.

UNT created the Emerald Eagle Scholars program in 2007. The program provides institutional grants to subsidize the cost of 15 undergraduate credit hours for each fall and spring semester over four years for eligible students. These grants, however, do not cover the full cost of attending UNT. The scholars and their families must depend on a mixture of state and federal financial aid as well.

“While the Emerald Eagle Scholars program offers wonderful supports for our eligible students, the program provides financial assistance for the cost of tuition and fees,” said Sarah Collins, director of enrollment management initiatives, who has administrative oversight of the Emerald Eagle Scholars program. “These additional funds could potentially make it possible for us to offer limited support for other expenses, such as housing, books or summer school courses.”

Endowment funds for the Emerald Eagle Scholars program and all endowed university scholarships are managed by the UNT Foundation Inc.  The UNT Foundation operates as a separate 501(c)(3) organization, providing independent management, reporting and stewardship of private gifts made to support the University of North Texas.

The UNT Foundation will host the inaugural Emerald Eagle Honors to benefit the Emerald Eagle Scholar endowment at 6:30 p.m., April 15, at the Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center in Dallas. The event, which replaces the Emerald Ball, will celebrate former UNT students who have made significant contributions to American culture and society. These include “Mean” Joe Greene, former Pittsburgh Steeler and member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, Rock and Roll icon Roy Orbison and Dallas City Manager Mary Suhm.

•  Make a gift to Emerald Eagle Scholars program.

•  Learn more about the Emerald Eagle Scholars program.

Buy tickets and learn about sponsorship information for the April 15 Emerald Eagle Honors.