ROCK ISLAND, ILLINOIS (June 1, 2023) — Augustana College announces a record-setting first-year enrollment, driven in part by the great success of the Augustana Possible grant, which will go to 183 incoming first-year students who will enroll this fall.

Augustana Possible is an innovative program that meets 100% of demonstrated financial need for high-achieving students with financial need, based on the FAFSA or Illinois Alternative Application for Financial Aid. The program removes financial barriers for deserving students to attend Augustana College, and many grant recipients are first-time college attendees.

The Augustana Possible awards will be funded over the course of a number of years by an $80 million increase to the college’s endowment, with funds coming from a commitment from alumnus Murry Gerber (’75) and a dollar-for-dollar matching gift challenge.

Gerber, who was a first-generation student, said “Augustana’s core capability has been to lift those most in need and, importantly, to support students and families navigating the complexity and benefits of achieving a college education.”

“Augustana has always excelled in surrounding students with support,” he said. “The problem recently has been an expansion of the financial gap between the cost of what we uniquely provide and the financial resources available to those who desire the experience. Augustana Possible closes that gap.”

The grant has spurred the college’s largest applicant pool and largest first-year cohort in the school’s 163-year history, with 584 domestic (US) students and 266 international students who have committed to attending this fall. In all, the college attracted an unprecedented 8,000 applicants for admission for the 2023-2024 school year.

Launched in 2022, the Augustana Possible matching initiative has raised donations of $17.2 million, including $10.6 million from Gerber and $7.1 million from other alumni and donors.

“Augustana is an engine for student transformation, and I am honored that we are receiving support to accelerate that important work and, in turn, supporting high-achieving students who carry on the great tradition of Augustana alumni who make a difference,” said Augustana President Andrea Talentino.

“People are saying Augustana Possible is a ‘game changer.’ I see that,” Talentino continued. “This program will change the lives of students who get the benefit of an Augustana education, and at the same time, we can’t forget how it fueled admissions this cycle.”

Augustana Possible awardees by the numbers:

  • 183 incoming first-year students have been awarded the grant and have committed to attending Augustana. This more than doubles the original projections of awarding the grant to 75 first-year Augustana Possible students.
  • 49% of eligible Augustana Possible applicants are students of color, compared to approximately 38% of the overall admitted student pool, supporting Augustana’s diversity, equity, and inclusion goals.
  • 51 recipients, or 28% of all recipients, are first-generation college students.
  • Recipients will join Augustana from ten states: California, Utah, Colorado, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Idaho, Texas, Georgia, Iowa, and Illinois.
  • The average re-calculated grade-point average for committed Augustana Possible students is 3.68, with these students ranking in the top 12.4% of their high-school class.
  • The average Augustana Possible grant is $6,234.

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