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Class of 2021 Funds Endowed Scholarship

  • By: Charis Negley
  • Published:
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Pictured above: Jacob Ferguson and Leah Conley, president and vice president for the Class of 2021

A college education is one of the biggest investments students will make towards their future. A Taylor degree helps students adapt, achieve, and become leaders in their fields, making long-term impacts on their careers and communities.

At Taylor, 99% of students receive some form of financial aid. But sometimes, urgent needs arise, and students need an extra boost to continue their education at Taylor. The Class of 2021 recognized that need and resolved to do something about it.

Making a Difference as Seniors and Beyond

Jacob Ferguson ’21 began the “Class of 2021 Endowed Scholarship” as the president of his class.

Every year, graduating seniors are encouraged to participate in the Senior Giving Campaign to give back to any area of Taylor. The goal is to get 70% of the class to donate at least a dollar their first year, and increase slowly each year after that, but a class rarely hits that number because many students don’t see the point of giving such a small amount.

“We asked, ‘How can we give our class an extra reason to give?’” Ferguson said. “The idea we settled on was, ‘Well, what if we created a scholarship?’”

Ferguson talked to his classmates to see if others had interest in this option. With consensus across the board, they decided to make the scholarship endowed, which means once they fundraise $50,000, it will get invested and self-perpetuate five percent of the principle each year for a scholarship.

What they didn’t know at the time was they would become Taylor’s youngest class ever to create an endowed scholarship.

The incentive to fund an endowed scholarship has helped them hit the 70% mark of class donation. They also received $10,000 from a donor to get the scholarship off the ground. Ferguson encouraged classmates, parents of classmates, and friends of the university to join in. He continues to do so even now, working to find a match that will double that donor’s $10,000.

“When we created it, we asked, ‘What’s the greatest need right now?’” Ferguson said. “We were told that the greatest area of need is students who are at Taylor but can’t afford to stay at Taylor for whatever reason. And we said, ‘That’s it.’”

Standing in the Gap

The Class of 2021 approached Director of Scholarships Michael Mortensen and expressed their desire to help students who are walking through unexpected financial situations, particularly juniors and seniors, who are at risk of not being able to stay at Taylor without help.

“Each year, the Financial Aid office identifies a junior or senior who may not be able to return due to lack of funds,” said Ferguson. “Our scholarship then goes to that student to help them return in order to graduate.”

The Class of 2021 has already given out two $1,000 scholarships and wants to keep doing so as they fundraise for their larger investment goal.

Mortensen’s own goal is to keep working until every student that wants and qualifies to come to Taylor can come. He continually seeks God’s resources to make this happen. 

“It’s really important that we make Taylor’s Christ-centered, biblically-anchored, student-focused education available and make sure that it’s accessible and affordable,” Mortensen said.

Invest in Students’ Futures

It's not only the Class of 2021 who’s excited about student scholarships. This past spring, an anonymous $20 million gift has made it possible to launch the most aggressive scholarship challenge match the institution has ever pursued: the 10:10 Scholarship Challenge.

“What makes this gift truly special is that it’s a transformational investment that makes Taylor more accessible – turning $20 million into $40 million for student scholarships,” said Michael Falder, Vice President for University Advancement. “Every gift to one of the seven strategic scholarship funds from $10 to $10 million will be matched dollar-for-dollar.”

This gift will make a Taylor education within reach for many more students. Donate today as we join together under Jesus’ words in John 10:10: He came to give “life to the full.”