Endowment for Adult Learners

The endowment will provide scholarships to adult students who had to interrupt their educational studies.


Special to USF News


TAMPA, Fla. (Aug. 26, 2011) – The University of South Florida has been awarded a $1 million endowment and a one-time $50,000 bridge grant  from The Bernard Osher Foundation through its Reentry Scholarship Program. The endowment will fund scholarships for adult students who found it necessary to interrupt their educational studies.


This $1 million endowment was preceded by three annual grants of $50,000 each, which, in total, have funded 37 scholarships for USF adult students. Since 2007, The Bernard Osher Foundation has enabled USF’s University College to provide financial assistance to adults who desire to complete their degree, removing a major obstacle to degree completion.  Recent USF graduate and Osher Reentry Scholar, Elizabeth Ciesla, notes that, “Osher was the perfect scholarship for me because I was older, had been away from college in the professional world for several years, and had a strong desire to succeed. I am so thankful for this scholarship, and now I have a degree to be proud of for a lifetime.” 


The $1 million endowment supports up to 26 students each year who are returning to the college classroom after a break of five or more years. According to project directors Lagretta Lenker and Gerene Thompson, students selected as Osher Reentry Scholars must anticipate participation in the workforce for a significant period of time subsequent to graduation, demonstrate financial need and show academic promise. Scholars are able to renew the scholarships based on continuing financial need and good academic  standing.  


“This $1 million gift ensures the future of this important scholarship program at University of South Florida, which aids working adult students in the Tampa Bay area,” said University College Interim Executive Director, Sandra Cooper. “At a time  when many are facing economic challenges, it is important for USF to continue offering scholarships to help individuals earn their degree and become more competitive in the job market. We are grateful to The Bernard Osher Foundation for its continuous support of our students.” 


“We are honored to receive this special endowment gift from our friends at The Bernard Osher Foundation” stated Joel Momberg, Senior Vice President of University Advancement and CEO of the USF Foundation. “Their  extraordinary dedication and commitment ensures that students who have experienced a gap in their postsecondary education have the opportunity to return to school and pursue their educational goals.  In many cases, the scholarship support provided by the Foundation is the determining factor in their academic success.  We are exceedingly grateful that The Bernard Osher Foundation chose to establish this endowed scholarship fund at USF.”


USF University College is also the recipient of an additional  $1 million endowment gift from The Bernard Osher Foundation to support the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) at USF. The gift supports OLLI-USF’s commitment to providing adults, 50 years of age and older, with opportunities for intellectual development, cultural stimulation, personal growth, civic engagement and social interaction.


To apply for or make inquiries regarding Osher Reentry Scholarships, please contact Margaret Block at 1-888-873-4968 or email askusf4you@usf.edu