Liberal arts scholarship numbers on the rise

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — During the 2016-17 academic year, the College of the Liberal Arts awarded $5 million to students in the form of scholarships and enrichment awards — half a million dollars more than in the previous year. The funds went to 1,383 students in the college.

“As state support for higher education continues on the discouraging path we've seen over the last several years, it becomes ever clearer that the College of the Liberal Arts is lucky to have such generous and committed alumni donors,” said Paul C. Taylor, associate dean for undergraduate studies in the College of the Liberal Arts. “Not only do they give of their time and their talents, working with our students as mentors and with our college leadership to help us chart our course, they also give of their hard-earned financial resources, often to 'pay forward' the helping hand they received when they were here. This assistance has never been more vital than it is now.”

Full-time students with the greatest financial need received $1.3 million. One of those students was Jennifer Barnes, a sophomore majoring in criminology. Coming from a small town in Pennsylvania, Barnes knew she would have to work hard in school while also working a part-time job to save up for college.

“I would not be able to attend the school of my dreams without the financial help from the Chaiken Family Trustee Scholarship,” said Barnes.

For fifth-year senior Doran Tucker, a Chaiken scholarship meant only needing to work in the summers, which let him focus all his energy on academics during the school year.

“There was a time when a student who worked as hard as I do in the summers could have paid for college on their own, but now that is not possible,” he said. 

The Schreyer Scholar is double-majoring in international politics and geography and is planning to attend graduate school next year.

“Because of my scholarship, I am less burdened by student debt, which might have prohibited continuing my education,” Tucker said. “I would like to earn a doctorate and hopefully become a professor so I can help others learn as so many talented individuals have helped me.”

In addition to scholarships, the College of the Liberal Arts awarded $630,000 for summer study abroad, internships and student research. Erin Ferris, a senior majoring in labor and employment relations with a minor in psychology, received funding for her internship this past summer. The Massapequa Park, New York, native completed an internship with Morgan Stanley in New York City and has been offered a full-time position after she graduates in May. The Paterno Fellow received funding for her internship through the Chapel Executive Internship Program.

Katie Hutton is another Chapel intern and a mining engineering major with a minor in German. She interned in Germany with Heidelberg Cement Group.

“The funding that I received from the Chapel Executive Internship Program was essential to my summer internship,” said Hutton. “I had an incredible opportunity to work in Germany, and in addition to my expenses in euros, I also had expenses in USD, such as my rent in State College, tuition for a summer online class from Penn State, and other travel expenses. While working in Deutschland, I was paid in euros and had to open a German bank account. With my wage, there was no convenient way to transfer money to the U.S. to cover these expenses. Without the Chapel funding, my amazing summer abroad would not have been possible! I am so grateful for the Chapels' generosity, and I hope that my growth through this experience shows the value of investing in the liberal arts.”

To learn more about giving to the College of the Liberal Arts, contact Geoff Halberstadt, interim director of development, at or visit

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Last Updated October 27, 2017