Keeping It Affordable
The average cost of attending a private university in the United States is $35,000 per year, and Mary Hardin-Baylor works hard to keep the combined cost of tuition, housing, meal plans, and fees below that average. But the fact remains that most students cannot afford to attend a private university like UMHB without significant financial aid. Each year the number of academically qualified, deserving students who want to attend UMHB increases, and as enrollments go up, the dollars needed to offset the cost of attendance go up, too.
Gifts to annual scholarships and to the endowment are powerful in their impact because they open the door to the UMHB experience for students who otherwise could not afford to attend. Annual gifts offer immediate impact, funding scholarships for students within 12 months after they are made. Gifts to the endowment have a longer trajectory; while the gift will remain invested in a secure fund, earnings from that endowment gift will go toward funding scholarships every year in perpetuity.
The need for scholarships is significant.
Ninety percent of UMHB students cannot afford to pay the full cost of their education. In 2011-12, 34 percent of the incoming freshman class came from homes where the family income was less than $50,000.
And the need for scholarships will continue to grow. “Each year the cost of going to college goes up, and each year we are enrolling more students,” says Ron Brown, UMHB’s director of financial aid. Scholarship donors make a difference in helping us meet the growing demand.
A scholarship is an investment in the life of a student.
Click a photo to meet some of the students whose lives have been changed thanks to donor scholarships.
Kathryn Embersics has worked hard for as long as she can remember. In high school she was an honor roll student who earned spending money at a part-time job and taught Sunday School classes at her church. Her parents’ struggle with alcoholism made home life difficult; concerned that their daughters would follow in their footsteps, they imposed extraordinarily strict rules on the girls’ behavior. When she was 16, her parents punished her questioning of their rules by banishing her from their home. She managed to support herself through the last two years of high school and graduated with excellent grades—but when the time came for college, she had no resources to draw upon for tuition.
“The first time I toured the UMHB campus, I felt God calling me to be here, but I didn’t see how I could ever afford it,” Kathryn says. “Fortunately, there were scholarships available for students who made good grades and took leadership roles in their high schools; when packaged together with grants, loans, and the money I could earn through the work/study program, they made it possible for me to go to UMHB.”
As she has pursued a bachelor’s degree in athletic training, Kathryn’s pace has not slowed. In addition to keeping up with her classes and working 13 hours a week in the library, she works in the nursery at a local church and puts in 200 to 300 hours per semester as an athletic trainer for the many Crusader athletic teams. She hopes to apply her degree toward a career in occupational therapy, working with stroke patients and the elderly.
“I don’t know yet how I will do it, but sometimes you just have to take it day by day and not get overwhelmed,” she says. “I have seen wonderful things happen; just recently my parents have contacted me, and we are working to reestablish our relationship. God has opened doors for me over and over, and I know I can rely on Him.”
Mallory, Megan, and Scout Aarhus
Imagine providing diapers for three babies at once. Now fast forward 18 years, and imagine sending them all to college.
Those were the challenges faced by Mark and Tania Aarhus of Georgetown, Texas. When their twin daughters Megan and Mallory were born, they took it in stride, and when Scout was born two years later, they upped their game and kept on going. But when the time came for the twins to go to college, the family saw that the average cost for one year of a university education was more than $30,000. Multiplying that amount times two, and with Scout following close behind, they knew they couldn’t meet this challenge alone.
When they talked to the financial aid staff at UMHB, they learned that the twins’ strong grades qualified them for several scholarships; with the addition of work/study jobs for both girls, they were able to make the girls’ dream of attending UMHB a reality. And two years later, when Scout decided the UMHB nursing program was where she wanted to be, donor scholarships once again came to the rescue.
Today the twins are nearing graduation; Mallory plans to use her degree in exercise sport science to work with injured athletes, and Megan hopes to apply her studies in psychology to a career in school counseling. They both are glad they have been able to earn their degrees at UMHB.
“We knew that we wanted to go to a small school that had a strong Christian atmosphere. UMHB has a great reputation, but my expectations were exceeded in every way,” says Megan.
Like many families who find themselves paying the bills for several college-aged children at once, the Aarhus family has worked hard to provide a great education for all of the girls. Will Mom and Dad breathe a sigh of relief when Scout crosses the stage for her diploma?
“Yes, but not for long,” says Scout with a laugh. “We have a younger sister, Justus, who’s still at home. And she’s already decided she wants to come to UMHB, too!”
Taylor Barnard is a junior with a double major in finance and accounting, pursuing a five-year MBA. He was born and raised in Brownsville, Texas, and graduated as valedictorian of his senior class. Mary Hardin-Baylor’s small, Christian atmosphere was what initially attracted him to the university. The scholarships he was offered, however, are what made it possible for him to attend.
“My dad is in commercial real estate, so he gets paid on commission. Ever since 2008, things have been tough on my family financially,” Taylor said. “So when UMHB offered me the valedictorian scholarship, which basically pays a little less than half of my tuition, it was just a tremendous blessing.”
Taylor has also received a number of other scholarships which, along with a work-study position, help cover most of his tuition costs. “I am extremely grateful because I realize that the high-quality education I am getting is worth far more than the cost of tuition.”