Washington College President Sheila Bair today announced an additional $715,000 that will support two of the school’s most innovative scholarship programs, Dam the Debt and George’s Brigade. The additional funding brings the programs, which President Bair inaugurated two years ago, to $1.25 million and $5.7 million, respectively.
“From the moment I became president of Washington College, affordability and accessibility have stood at the top of my to-do list,” President Bair says. “We could not have achieved all we have already through Dam the Debt and George’s Brigade without the generous and far-sighted support of our donors to these programs, who clearly see that making college more affordable for everyone must be a priority, both for Washington College as a small liberal arts institution, and for higher education as a whole.”
George’s Brigade pays full tuition, room, board, and fees all four years to high-need, high-potential students. Begun with the Class of 2020, the Brigade saw 14 students complete their first year in May, and 20 new students are expected to matriculate with the Class of 2021 this fall. The inaugural year of the program saw an 88 percent retention rate. Under President Bair’s leadership, the College’s overall retention rate for first-to-second-year students increased by four points from the previous year to 86 percent.
Of the $5.7 million accumulated to date for George’s Brigade, $3.7 million is endowed. New donors to George’s Brigade arethe J. Willard & Alice S. Marriott Foundation, which committed $160,000; the Hearst Foundation, which contributed $100,000; Morgan Stanley, which donated $80,000; T. Rowe Price, which committed $50,000, and the Charlotte and George Riggs Charitable Fund, which contributed $20,000. In addition, President Bair designated $160,000 of presidential discretionary funds to the Brigade to fund two four-year scholarships.
Since its inception in late 2015, George’s Brigade has received support from a variety of sources including H. Lawrence Culp, Jr. ’85, president of the Board of Visitors and Governors, The Hodson Trust, M&T Bank, DLA Piper, Avant, Bank of the West, PNC, Heron Point of Chestertown, Host Hotels Resorts, Ann D. Horner ’80, Nina Houghton P’85, GP ’11, the Grayce B. Kerr Fund, Dr. Robert Kirkwood, M&A Enterprises, Mr. and Mrs. James Miller, Morgan Stanley & Company, T. Rowe Price, Thomson Reuters, Mr. and Mrs. Michael J. Travieso ’66 ’66,Mr. and Mrs. James Aris P ’17, itBit, the Jessie Ball duPont Fund, P. C. Massey III ’58, James Riepe, and Mr. and Mrs. Brian Rogers.
Taking a different tack on cutting college costs, Dam the Debt acts as a back-end scholarship that awards eligible graduating seniors a grant that pays for federally subsidized loans they have taken out for their last semester of college. Since its inception in May 2016, the program has awarded a total of $659,000 to 252 eligible graduating seniors, reducing the students’ overall debt by over 10 percent with an average grant amount of $2,615.
President Bair has designated $145,000 of presidential discretionary funds to Dam the Debt. Previous donors include BB&T, bloooom, inc., TD Bank, Santander Bank, Avant, John and Peggy Bacon, and Philip and Joan Riggin.
In addition to these two programs, the College has launched FixedFor4, which will fix tuition for four years for incoming freshmen, beginning with this fall’s incoming Class of 2021. Last year, the College also announced the Saver’s Scholarship, which matches the amount that families contribute from a 529 college savings plan or an Educational Savings Account, up to $2,500 per year, to pay for their student’s tuition. Learn more at https://www.washcoll.edu/value/.
In addition to these new programs, Washington College annually provides more than $23 million in grants and scholarships, with 90 percent of students receiving merit-based scholarships or need-based financial aid.
About Washington College
Founded in 1782, Washington College is the tenth oldest college in the nation and the first chartered under the new Republic. It enrolls approximately 1,450 undergraduates from more than 35 states and a dozen nations. With an emphasis on hands-on, experiential learning in the arts and sciences, and more than 40 multidisciplinary areas of study, the College is home to nationally recognized academic centers in the environment, history, and writing. Learn more at washcoll.edu.