ATLANTA—A new scholarship created to help Georgia State University students attending the Andrew Young School of Policy Studies (AYS) remain in college was awarded this academic year to 13 undergraduates to allow them continue to work toward their degrees.
The RISE Award, established by Sam and Angie Allen (MBA), is awarded to AYS undergraduates for academic merit, commitment to community service and financial need. Noting its impact on AYS students this year, the Allens have pledged to renew the scholarship for the 2020/2021 academic year.
“The Andrew Young School of Policy Studies has achieved top-ranking status and attracts diverse enrollment of the most talented and committed students,” said Angie Allen. “Because of our association with AYS, we’ve seen firsthand how graduates can quickly rise to professional positions where they can truly impact critical policy decisions. We’ve also learned that too many students need that extra financial help, and we are delighted to be able to help them.”
Sam Allen agreed and added, “This award aligns with our own mission to help level the playing field of opportunity.”
Students at many colleges often experience challenges when funding their education. The amount they lack after all sources—scholarships, loans, grants, work-study—have been considered is called “unmet need.” These financial challenges can drastically impact a student’s academic career. Often, students are dropped from their classes or take a reduced course level because they are unable to pay tuition.
“We can directly correlate levels of unmet need and academic performance, and between academic achievement and dropout rates,” said Amanda Puche, director of development for the college. “Students drop out less because of poor academic performance than because of financial burden.”
More than 18,000 of Georgia State’s 50,000-plus students experience some level of unmet need. On average, the amount of unmet need for undergraduates is nearly $8,000 annually per student.
“Scholarships like the RISE Award help bridge the economic gap and enable our students to graduate. Last year, such awards kept 2,000 Georgia State students in the classroom, or brought them back, and kept them on track to earn their degrees,” said Puche. “The RISE Award will certainly make a difference, and we are all enormously grateful for the Allens’ commitment to our students and their futures.”
Angie Allen has previously served on the GSU Foundation Board. She and her husband Sam have long served on the Andrew Young School Dean’s Council.