The Scholarship Solution

Willard Radell, an IUP Economics professor, recommends an essay on the College Board website, called “Education Pays 2010.”

Radell said the economic dilemma recent graduates face won’t improve anytime soon, even though “Education Pays 2010” speaks volumes on how a college-educated society fares better. The dilemma of affordability and debt overhang looms.

“The income distribution has been getting more unequal in the United States over the last forty years,” Radell said. “One of the great levelers had been a college education, because college graduates make more money. In fact, that debt overhang generally paid for itself in the eleven years after graduation. By that time, the college graduate has made up for the loss of income while they were in school. To turn this around, we need to get back to the philosophy that states will adequately support access universities like IUP.

“If students’ lives are going to improve now, there is a need for increased scholarship awards,” he said.

Read more about The Debt Dilemma

Radell and many of his colleagues have seen the effects of rising tuition and decreased aid and assistance in their own classrooms. Many are moved by what they see to contribute to scholarship funds.

“The most heartbreaking thing I’ve seen is a student who says, ‘I can’t do my homework. My financial aid didn’t come through, so I couldn’t buy my book,’” said Mathematics Department professor Gary Stoudt, who actively contributes to an endowed scholarship fund he established more than a decade ago in memory of his wife, who also was a faculty member.

“It’s not easy for students today to get through school with the price of tuition and the price of books,” said Sue Corbin Rieg ’81, who chairs the Professional Studies in Education Department. She recently committed to establishing a scholarship endowment to help supplement the costs of her own students’ education. “A lot of my students are working two and three jobs just to pay for tuition, housing, books, and extra materials. I was blessed that my parents were able to pay my way, but that’s just not the case anymore. There aren’t as many jobs out there for our students. They definitely need our help.”

The Direct Ask

Readers who would like to discuss scholarship needs and make a gift to lighten the debt burden of future graduates may contact Bill Speidel, associate vice president for Development, at 724-357-2324.