Scholarships donation leads to increased tuition revenue

Pueblo Community College's Downtown Studio provides support to first-generation students, veterans, displaced workers and other at-risk potential students.
By: | Issue: March, 2019
February 22, 2019
The center helps first-generation and other at-risk potential students enroll and complete their programs.The center helps first-generation and other at-risk potential students enroll and complete their programs.

Besides being as efficient as possible within a department’s operations, colleges and universities must more effectively spend donor dollars. Pueblo Community College in Colorado was able to do that through its Downtown Studio, a call center located in the heart of Pueblo that helps first-generation students, veterans, displaced workers and other at-risk potential students to register and receive retention support.

After a donor contributed scholarship funds to Pueblo Community College, Richie Ince, director of the college’s call center, helped create the Return to Earn program; he now serves as its director. He cold-called students who had dropped out with just a semester or two remaining before graduating. Some faced medical or other emergencies, and some had past-due debts with the school.

Ince informed students about the available scholarship money. In addition, he was able to lift the hold that normally kept students with school debt from re-enrolling. A student passing one semester with a C or better would receive a scholarship of between $500 and $1,000. “They got another shot, but had to earn it,” he says.

Between spring 2016 and fall 2018, more than 300 students enrolled in Return to Earn, with more than 170 graduating so far.

Using about $87,000 in scholarship money this way, the college gained tuition revenue of more than $191,000. The scholarship fund continues to attract donations, so the program will continue through at least 2019-20, Ince says.