FLC students to benefit from $100,000 donation to Skyhawk Persistence and Emergency grants

Walter Dear, a longtime donor and friend of Fort Lewis College, gifted $100,000 to the Skyhawk Persistence Grant and Skyhawk Emergency Grant. These grants help students pay outstanding fees and continue with their education at FLC, as well as help cover in-semester emergencies. Dear is a staunch supporter of FLC and has made donations to departments across campus in the past. He said he believes FLC makes a difference in the lives of many and he wanted to support students and the college in more ways than just scholarships.

“There’s more than just tuition in college expenses; there are other costs associated with being a student,” says Dear. “With this grant, Fort Lewis College makes the difference for students.”

Dear has been a prolific donor to the college for 20 years, supporting music and the arts, the student newspaper, and other scholarships. He often refers to the college as the “jewel in the crown of Durango.”

“Walt Dear is an incredible supporter of FLC, and his donation will allow us to help many more students who are struggling financially pursue their degrees,” says President Tom Stritikus.

The Skyhawk Persistence and Emergency grants are funded entirely through private donations and managed by the Microgrant Team, a subgroup of the Student Success & Retention Team. Eric Huggins, professor of Management in the School of Business Administration, leads the Microgrant Team, supported by staff from the Financial Aid Office, Institutional Research, the Registrar's Office, and the Foundation. 

“Mr. Dear’s donation allows us to do both the Persistence Grants and Emergency Grants right and make the most difference for our students,” says Huggins. “We’ll now be able to help those with emergencies while still distributing grants for unpaid balances so students can register.”

The Persistence Grant is available to students in good academic standing with outstanding balances. The grant was created to help students in financial distress to continue with their education, by paying off enough of their fees so they can become eligible for class registration. Each semester the Microgrant Team reviews all outstanding balances and chooses students based on their grades and financial aid status. The first distribution of grants went to 23 students in December of 2018 and the second round went out in March to 13 students, in amounts ranging between $100 and $700. 

The Skyhawk Emergency Grant has been in development and will fund in-semester emergencies for students. These emergencies could be anything from an unexpected car repair to an emergency medical issue. Huggins says the hope is that the Emergency Grant will help students out of financial distress so that they can focus on success in the classroom.

Students will submit a request via an online portal for funds to cover unexpected expenses that would impede their enrollment or success in school. Huggins expects to be able to respond to students facing financial emergencies within 48 hours. The Skyhawk Emergency Grant will be available starting in Fall 2019.

Make a gift to the Persistence and Emergency grants