University News

UCLA Dream Fund will provide $20 million in scholarship aid to students

To help ensure access during tough economic times, UCLA will begin to make $20 million in scholarships available this fall to entering, high-achieving students with demonstrated financial need.
Over the next several years, the UCLA Achievement Scholarship program will provide up to $9,200 a year to top students. Freshmen awarded the scholarships can apply to renew them for their remaining three years, and transfer students can apply to renew them for one additional year.
"In recent years, the state has undergone an economic crisis of historical measure, which has resulted in declining support for California's universities and colleges and has increased the burden on families struggling to pay higher fees," UCLA Chancellor Gene Block said. "The UCLA Achievement Scholarships are a long-term commitment to help students fulfill their highest aspirations."
Funding for the scholarships was made available through the Dream Fund, a unique philanthropic partnership established in February 2011 by UCLA and The Lincy Foundation, which transferred approximately $200 million in assets to be managed by the UCLA Foundation. The Dream Fund's emphasis is on supporting research and academic and health care programs, as well as off-campus charitable causes that address large societal concerns.
On April 1, qualifying admitted freshmen were notified that they were eligible for UCLA Achievement Scholarships; so far, 199 of these students have indicated they will take UCLA up on the scholarship offer and begin their studies at the campus in the fall. As a result, the "yield" rate among high-achieving freshmen was 26.3 percent, compared with 18.8 percent for fall 2010 — a 40 percent increase. More Achievement Scholarship students will emerge from among the transfer students admitted to UCLA, who have until June 1 to file their statements of intent to register (SIRs).
The scholarships provide a measure of financial security to students over the course of their studies at UCLA, greatly reducing or, in some cases, even eliminating their need to work or accumulate debt to complete their degrees.
"These students will be freer to focus on their studies and prepare for their next step toward going out into the world and being forces for beneficial change," Block said. "This is a group of students whose academic achievements are so impressive that they could essentially go anywhere, and now they have chosen UCLA."
One of the entering UCLA students receiving the scholarship is David Torosyan of Burbank, Calif., who will be studying computer science. He said the scholarship confirmed his decision to attend UCLA. "I was out with my friends when I opened the email and read it. I was very, very happy," said Torosyan, who said some of those friends chose other campuses. "Especially after that, there was no question that UCLA was the better choice."
Michelle Nidia of Littlerock, Calif., said that the scholarship was "the deciding factor." "Ever since I was little, I've wanted to go to UCLA, but I might have had to go somewhere else. But once I got the scholarship, I said, 'I'm going to UCLA!'" she said. "I was very happy, at the point of crying. I even looked up The Lincy Foundation because I wanted to know more about it. I'm extremely grateful for the scholarship."
Another entering student, Ani Aharonyan of Glendale, Calif., will be studying biochemistry to prepare for a career as a cardiothoracic surgeon. Ani, who was born in Armenia and learned English after moving to the U.S. when she was 10, had been accepted to several other University of California campuses, as well as some private schools. She chose UCLA for many reasons, but the scholarship "helped with the decision," she said.
The same was true for Neveen Youssef of Downey, Calif., who wants to become a cognitive psychology researcher. "The scholarship pushed me further to choose UCLA," she said.
This year, UCLA will be welcoming its largest freshman class ever. As of the May 1 deadline, 6,030 of the 15,704 high school seniors who were admitted into UCLA's freshman class had filed SIRs. The campus expects slightly fewer than that number to enroll in the fall. UCLA received a record 61,515 freshman applications.
Among the students who indicated they would enroll in the fall were 4,919 California residents, 414 non-resident students from the U.S. and 697 non-resident students from other countries.
By comparison, in fall 2010, UCLA had 57,670 freshman applicants, of whom 13,088 were admitted and 4,636 enrolled. Of the enrolled freshmen, there were 4,024 California residents, 316 non-residents from the U.S. and 296 international non-resident students.
UCLA is California's largest university, with an enrollment of more than 38,000 undergraduate and graduate students. The UCLA College of Letters and Science and the university's 11 professional schools feature renowned faculty and offer 328 degree programs and majors. UCLA is a national and international leader in the breadth and quality of its academic, research, health care, cultural, continuing education and athletic programs. Six alumni and five faculty have been awarded the Nobel Prize.
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