Strengthening Institutions Endowed Scholarship Campaign

Creating an endowed scholarship fund at Naropa is an opportunity to transform lives—today and long after we are gone. Your gift can make it possible for promising students to benefit from a Naropa education, regardless of their financial circumstances.

Right now, we have a special opportunity to double your investment in Naropa. The federal Strengthening Institutions grant that Naropa received in 2010 includes approximately $150,000 in matching funds for an endowed scholarship. Your gift to this effort supports generations of Naropa students defray the high costs of higher education, and perhaps more importantly, creates greater access to Naropa's unique model of contemplative education. Gifts to this effort cannot be directed or named by the donor. Contact the Development office to learn more about how to get your gift doubled!

Why scholarship funds are so important

According to recent reports, colleges and universities in the United States have dramatically increased merit-based financial aid awards, which go primarily to students from wealthier families, while need-based awards to poorer students have stagnated. The result of such policies is an increasing gap between rich and poor in the ability to attend the most selective schools, and to successfully complete a college degree. For example, a recent article from the Chronicle of Higher Education cited the following statistics:

At Princeton, Pell Grant recipients made up only 7.5 percent of the undergraduates in 2004–5. At Harvard University and Virginia, they accounted for 8 percent, a Chronicle analysis has found. By comparison, they made up 26 percent at Smith College; 22 percent at Berry College; and 39 percent at the University of Cincinnati.

At Naropa University, we feel that the merit scholarship trend and its polarizing impact are shameful. With one exception, all of our scholarships, both institutional (tuition discounting) and donor-created, are distributed based on financial need. We are committed to using whatever resources we have to make our programs as accessible as possible to any student who wants to attend. However, 41% of our student body, including 49% of our undergraduates, come from families that qualify for Pell Grants, and Naropa has far fewer resources to support those students than would be available at elite, wealthy institutions.

With Naropa's shift to block-tuition for undergraduates in fall 2005, we increased the amount of aid we are able to award by $1 million. However, even this increase does not cover all of the existing financial need.

Scholarships and other permanent endowment funds are important to the life of any university, and particularly to small, private universities like Naropa. Endowed scholarship funds help Naropa to attract and retain outstanding students who might otherwise be unable to attend due to financial constraints. They also relieve pressure on the operating budget each year by creating a permanent and reliable source of income from which scholarships may be awarded. In addition, the more scholarships we are able to award, the lower the debt load our students incur at the time of their graduation.

Permanent endowment funds contribute to the stature of the university, to its long-term financial stability, to the quality of the student body as a whole, and to the well-being of its individual members. Donors who establish and build such funds make a very important contribution to the future of the school and to the lives of those who attend Naropa University.

How to establish a scholarship fund at Naropa University

The minimum required to establish a permanent, named scholarship endowment is $25,000, which may be contributed over a period of up to five years. Gifts to establish future scholarship funds may also be made as planned gifts. (For more information on planned gifts, please contact Andrea Auguiste, Director of Development at or 303-546-3594). Gifts of any size can be added to already existing scholarship funds.

The fund principal is invested and generates income in perpetuity. Each year up to 5 percent of the value of the fund is used to support annual scholarship awards. Earnings in excess of 5 percent are reinvested to keep the fund principal growing along with inflation.

Endowment funds may be named for the donor or the donor's designee(s). In addition, the donor may choose the department, program and/or type of student the scholarship will benefit, or the donor may leave this open. Decisions about individual recipients will be made by the Director of Financial Aid, based on the criteria the donor designates and student financial need. Donors receive a report each fall on the student recipients.

Naropa University welcomes any opportunity to discuss the creation of an endowed scholarship. For more information, please contact the Office of Development at 303-546-3594 or

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