Osher Grant Helps Non-Traditional Students

TAMPA, Fla. (August 19, 2009) – There are second chances in life, at least when it comes to finishing college.  Twenty University of South Florida full-time and part-time non-traditional students who have reentered college to complete their baccalaureate degrees are finding that to be the case.  Thanks to funding from The Bernard Osher Foundation, tuition expenses are no longer standing in the way of wrapping up their undergraduate studies.  Now a second consecutive $50,000 grant from the foundation will help another cohort of students in the USF Osher Reentry Scholarship program.  


 “We are very excited about continuing this valuable scholarship program,” said Lagretta Lenker, senior director of Metro Initiatives, USF ECampus.  “Without this program many of them would not have the means to complete their degrees and our recipients are getting so much out of their experiences at USF.”


One such student, Kelly Budnick, was a semester away from graduating when she discovered she had exceeded the number of credit hours to qualify for financial aid.  “At the beginning of the semester I found out I wasn’t going to have any money to pay for college,” said Ms. Budnick, an elementary education major.  “Then I found an ad in ‘The Oracle’ (USF’s student newspaper).  I am so happy that I have a way to pay for college and actually finish now.”


The last time Phillip Amman was in college was before PCs and laptops and certainly before one of his daughters was a student at USF.  “My daughter Ashley (enrolled in biology at USF) was thrilled when I told her I was going back to college,” said Mr. Amman, a mass communications major.  “We’d been talking about it for years and – now that the financial part is covered – it’s been made possible.”


Applicants for the Osher Reentry Scholarship program must be between the ages of 25 and 50 with a cumulative gap in their education of five or more years.  They need not have attended USF in the past, but must be eligible to enroll.


Additional information about eligibility requirements and applications is available online at www.usf4you.org or by calling the USF ECampus office at 888-USF4YOU (888-873-4968).


“The stories that our Osher students have shared with us are truly inspirational,” said Gerene Thompson, assistant director of Metro Initiatives, who coordinates the Osher Reentry Scholarship program.  “We are grateful Osher has extended the program as we know how appreciative our students are about this financial opportunity.”


About The Bernard Osher Foundation

The Bernard Osher Foundation of San Francisco was founded in 1977 by California businessman Bernard Osher.  Among other foundation initiatives, the Osher Reentry Scholarship Program provides tuition support for students returning to four-year institutions after a significant break in their studies.  At present, 63 universities in 24 states and the District of Columbia participate in this program.


The University of South Florida is one of the nation's top 63 public research universities and one of 39 community-engaged, four-year public universities as designated by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. USF was awarded more than $360 million in research contracts and grants in FY 2007/2008. The university offers 224 degree programs at the undergraduate, graduate, specialist and doctoral levels, including the doctor of medicine. The university has a $1.8 billion annual budget, an annual economic impact of $3.2 billion, and serves more than 46,000 students on institutions/campuses in Tampa, St. Petersburg, Sarasota-Manatee and Lakeland. USF is a member of the Big East Athletic Conference.