How much of the Towson University experience does tuition really cover?
It might never occur to a student—or an alumnus—to ask that question. That’s why, on Thursday, Towson University students will be part of a worldwide education and engagement effort called Student Engagement and Philanthropy Day.
SEP Day involves nearly 100 colleges and universities nationwide, and a handful internationally. The purpose is to encourage a culture of philanthropy among students, and to educate them on what really goes into making Towson what it is.
“I never knew that the cost of tuition doesn’t cover everything it takes to run our university,” says Becca Nappi ’15, a TU presidential ambassador. “It’s truly amazing to think that alumni and donors pay for so much of the resources and benefits we receive as students at Towson.”
In the 2014 fiscal year, tuition and state funding covered about 60% of the university’s operating budget. Some of the remaining 40% is covered with other assets. But without gifts from donors, whether individuals or corporations and foundations, there would be far fewer scholarships; last year, 790 students received scholarships through the Towson University Foundation, which administers all private donations. Those scholarships are separate from institutional aid.
Donors also create and support the programs and labs unique to Towson University. The College of Business & Economics’ T. Rowe Price finance lab and The Associate competition; a number of arts programs like the Asian Arts Center and AileyCamp in the College of Fine Arts & Communication; the Towson UTeach program; and much of the Center for Student Diversity’s programming are just a handful of examples.
Towson’s sports programs are also all supported by donors.
“Now that I [know the need], I want to support the university I have had the pleasure of calling home for one of the most important times in my life,” says Presidential Ambassador Allen Meyers ’15.
Towson students will use SEP Day to thank donors for enriching the TU experience with such distinctive opportunities. From 11 a.m – 1 p.m., Presidential Ambassadors will be at the University Union, encouraging all students to sign a banner that says “Thank You! We love TU Donors!” Everyone who signs will get a special t-shirt. The banner will appear with students in photos sent out to alumni and other donors, so they can see some of the students they help.
“Towson has so many people and activities that have truly shaped and fostered our growth as students,” says Nappi. “Without our alumni and donors, we wouldn’t be as fortunate as we are.”
But SEP Day also works to encourage students to think more about giving to their college or university. It’s hard to think about giving money to a school when student loans are still coming due, but understanding how much those gifts help is key to cultivating alumni participation.
“I think students should consider all the things they love about Towson and all the opportunities this university provides for us,” Nappi notes. “It only makes sense to help give future students the same opportunities for the best college experience and chances for success as we all have had.”