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$500 Mill. Fundraiser Will Be For Students

Campaign Will Launch in Fall 2008, End in 2011

By Marie Y. Thibault

The Campaign for Students, a new fundraising campaign that hopes to raise at least $500 million to benefit undergraduate and graduate students, was announced to the MIT Corporation last Friday. According to a press release supplied by Kirk D. Kolenbrander, vice president for institute affairs and secretary of the Corporation, the $500 million will be raised over the next five years and will support scholarships for undergraduate students, fellowships for graduate students, student life, and any efforts that result from the report of the Task Force on the Undergraduate Educational Commons.

The undergraduate scholarships will basically serve to bolster standard undergraduate financial aid, Kolenbrander said. MIT does not presently have a sufficient pool of resources for undergraduate financial aid, he added. The campaign will allow MIT to remain competitive with its peers, he said.

In the press release, President Susan Hockfield said that the campaign will provide support for MIT’s policy of need-blind admission and need-based aid to undergraduates as well as financial aid for graduate students.

Of the $500 million, $200 million will go toward undergraduate scholarships, $100 million toward graduate fellowships, $100 million for the undergraduate commons, the set of classes that all undergraduate students are required to take, and $100 million toward student life projects, according to Chancellor Phillip L. Clay.

Undergraduate Association President Andrew T. Lukmann ’07 said that he is aware of the campaign, though there hasn’t “been opportunity for the UA to get involved in it yet.”

Lukmann said that he was unwilling to give an opinion of the campaign without talking first with members of the UA Senate and other UA members. Kolenbrander emphasized that the campaign “doesn’t take focus away from Resource Development,” meaning that it will increase the fundraising pool, instead of dividing up current fundraising efforts.

Michael Baenen, special assistant to the President, likened the campaign to “baking a bigger pie rather than taking the existing pie and slicing it differently.”

The campaign is expected to launch in Oct. 2008 and end in 2011, when MIT will be celebrating its 150th anniversary. The press release notes that before the launch, 18 months will be spent finding volunteer campaign leaders and attracting the interest of key donors. Clay, along with Resource Development staff and Stephen A. Dare, interim vice president for Resource Development, will be leading the campaign.

More than $450 million were raised for similar purposes in the Campaign for MIT, which raised a total $2 billion and ended in December 2004.