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The Daniels Fund awarded a $50,000 grant to the University of Wyoming for the Daniels Opportunity Scholarship, a need-based scholarship program that provides financial and academic support to adult learners (over the age of 25). The goal is higher retention of adult learners at UW.
"One of the guiding principles of the Daniels Fund is our belief that boundless opportunity can exist for each and every individual," says Linda Childears, president and CEO of the Daniels Fund. "The work of organizations such as the University of Wyoming Foundation helps make this a reality."
Over a two-year period, scholarships in the amount of $2,000 will be awarded to 12-13 nontraditional students, who will also receive academic support, peer mentoring, and success training.
The Daniels Opportunity Scholarship targets adult learners on the UW Laramie campus who meet the Daniels Fund profile, are ineligible for the Wyoming Hathaway Scholarship, and are pursuing their first bachelor's degree.
The Daniels Fund profile includes adult learners who are non-traditional students, such as adults pursuing education later in life, GED recipients, returning military personnel, young people from the foster care system, students exiting juvenile justice programs, and those studying for their EMT or paramedic certificate.
These scholarship awards fill a gap. Adult learners comprised 19 percent of undergraduates in the fall of 2009, and although adult learners qualify for financial aid, this aid often falls short of the amount they need to stay in school. The average unmet need for these students is almost $3,000, while many of them fall short as much as $4,500.
"We are extremely thankful for the generosity of the Daniels Fund and its ongoing support for significant initiatives in Wyoming supporting access to higher education," says Sara Axelson, UW vice president for student affairs.
The Daniels Opportunity Scholarship provides academic support through two UW programs-the Student Support Services Program and the Nontraditional and Women's Center Program. The student support program serves economically disadvantaged students, first-generation college students, ethnic minorities, and the disabled. Adult learners who do not fall into these categories are served through the nontraditional and women's program.
Between 2004 and 2009, UW in partnership with the seven Wyoming community colleges has received three Daniels Opportunity Scholarship awards totaling $380,000.
Daniels, a pioneer in cable television, launched his first cable system in Casper in 1953. When he died in 2000, the bulk of his estate was transferred to the fund, making it the largest foundation in the Rocky Mountain region. The Daniels Fund oversees the Daniels Fund Scholarship Program and the Daniels Fund Grants Program to provide a better life and greater opportunities to thousands of individuals in Colorado, New Mexico, Wyoming, and Utah. For more information, visit www.danielsfund.org.