Last fall, many of us were shocked and upset by the news that federal budget cuts were threatening our campus’ TRIO programs. Having served first generation, low-income, underrepresented and disabled students on this campus for 38 years, these programs have made a vital contribution to hundreds of Beloiters’ lives and to student body diversity. With this threat weighing heavily on the minds of many, two seniors, Hayley Notter and Chelsea Steck, asked TRIO-Student Support Services (TRIO-SSS) staff how their Senior Class Gift could best support TRIO-SSS programs and students. Their answer? A textbook fund.
As we all can relate to, textbooks are expensive. According to a survey conducted in 2009, students spend an average of $362 on books each semester. While that much money will certainly take a toll on anyone’s wallet, it’s particularly difficult for some to afford. In recent years, TRIO-SSS staff, professors, and coaches have been reporting increased incidences of students being forced to borrow, photocopy, or worse, go without required course materials. These less than ideal circumstances often negatively impact students’ time, stress and academic performance.
After all, reading is what we do. Sure, we learn with our hands, through discussion, in labs, our dorm rooms, and in off-campus communities too, but when it comes down to it, none of this would be complete without books and other learning resources.
To ensure that all students have access to the resources they need for a Beloit education, we, the Senior Class Officers, in collaboration with TRIO-SSS staff, have created the Class of 2012 Textbook Fund. This fund will provide selected students with up to $300 in required course materials per semester, and will be administered by TRIO-SSS staff and Associate Dean Charles Westerberg. Applicants to the fund will be selected based on a combination of their participation in TRIO-SSS programs, the quality of their application, and financial need. To increase the longevity of the Textbook Fund’s impact, all purchased materials will be returned to TRIO-SSS at the end of each semester and either sold (the proceeds from which will return to the fund) or continue in the textbook library for another semester.
The Class of 2012 Textbook Fund presents seniors, their parents, and alumni with an opportunity to support TRIO-SSS’s mission in this crucial time and to make sure that students from less privileged backgrounds have the resources they need for a life-changing Beloit education.
Members of the Class of 2012 can expect to receive a letter with a Senior Class Gift pledge envelope in their mailboxes later this week. In addition to the Class of 2012 Textbook Fund, seniors will have the option of giving to the Class of 2007 Loan Reduction Fund, which supports loan reduction financial aid for underrepresented or first generation students. Seniors, please make a gift to one or both funds to support the education of future Beloiters.