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Loyola receives more than $6 million in scholarship support from foundations

Loyola press release - April 9, 2013

Students with financial need at Loyola University New Orleans will soon have more scholarship dollars available to them thanks to the philanthropy of the Gayle and Tom Benson (H’87) Charitable Foundation and the Patrick F. Taylor Foundation. The Bensons pledged $5 million in financial aid to the university and the Patrick F. Taylor Foundation pledged $1.26 million. Both gifts will be used for scholarship support for academically talented students with demonstrated financial need, but the Taylor gift has been earmarked for first-generation college students who reside in Louisiana.

“One of our goals as a Jesuit university is to make a Loyola education accessible to all talented and hardworking students,” said Loyola President Kevin Wm. Wildes, S.J., Ph.D. “In the face of rising tuition costs nationwide, Loyola has renewed its commitment to increasing need-based scholarships, and private donor support such as these generous gifts enable us to enroll the best students regardless of their economic standing. We are grateful to both foundations for their belief in Loyola’s mission and their assistance in helping our students.”

The $5 million gift from the Benson Foundation will be distributed over five years and is divided into two parts—$4 million to establish the Tom and Gayle Benson Endowed Scholarship Fund and $1 million for support of immediate-use scholarships. The Benson Endowed Scholarship Fund will be invested and utilized to support Loyola sophomore or higher grade students who have a minimum GPA of 3.0 and who are in financial need.

“Gayle and I are proud to make this gift available to Loyola University. It speaks to the dedication of this great university to prepare students for life ahead, not only through the classroom, but also through their Catholic faith and community service,” said Benson, owner of the New Orleans Saints football team. “Loyola University has always held a special place in my heart, and providing a gift that will be used for scholarships for needy students will be one that Gayle and I can look on and know with confidence will make a positive difference in someone’s life.”

The Taylor Foundation’s grant will provide seven $15,000 scholarships per year over the next 12 years for deserving students. The first seven scholarships from this fund will be available to students enrolling for the fall 2013 semester, and will be awarded in August 2013. Students who receive the Patrick F. Taylor Foundation Scholarship must carry a class schedule of at least 15 hours per semester and meet the grade point average required for students in Louisiana’s Taylor Opportunity Program for Students (TOPS), which is a 2.3 GPA after the first year, and a 2.5 GPA for each subsequent year.

“We are very pleased to be able to offer scholarship assistance to Loyola University New Orleans. This outstanding educational institution with its 100 years of experience has much to offer its students. These scholarships will significantly benefit Louisiana students who are the very first in their family to have an opportunity to attend a university. It will also assist in helping to provide an educated work force to face the needs of tomorrow,” said Phyllis M. Taylor, president and chairwoman of the Patrick F. Taylor Foundation.

Currently, 65 percent of Loyola students receive need-based financial aid, and about 30 percent of its students are eligible for Pell grants, which serve some of the most economically challenged students. Additionally, roughly 30 percent of Loyola’s current student body is comprised of first-generation students, or those who are the first in their families to attend college. Educating first-generation students affects not only the student receiving a Loyola education, but in many cases, each generation of his or her family that follows.