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The University of New Mexico was recently awarded a $1 million endowment from The Bernard Osher Foundation to support the “Osher Reentry Scholarship Program” at UNM. The endowment is awarded to four-year higher education institutions to exclusively assist non-traditional, reentry students with their tuition expenses.

“More than a quarter of the University’s undergraduate population is over the age of 25,” Osher Foundation President Mary Bitterman said. “The University’s ample services for these students and its thoughtful administration of the Reentry Program since 2012 gave the Foundation confidence when moving forward with this gift.”

The Osher Foundation defines reentry students as individuals who have experienced a cumulative interruption in their education of five or more years and now wish to earn their first baccalaureate degree. The endowment primarily benefits students between the ages of 25-50 with considerable years of employment ahead of them. 

“Part of the uniqueness of UNM is the diversity of our students. Along with varied cultural and ethnic backgrounds, many of our students are also non-traditional – not fresh out of high school," President Robert G. Frank said. “This scholarship supports them in meeting their specific needs and challenges.”

“The University of New Mexico has several programs and services in place to support reentry students, the Osher Reentry Scholarship will enhance what many of these programs are able to accomplish.” said Tim Gutierrez, associate vice president for Student Services. “The endowment will positively impact a number of programs that currently exist at UNM.”

According to Gutierrez, the Division of Student Affairs wrote the original application for and received the initial $50,000 per year grant two years ago. Since then, the Division has been working with The Osher Foundation to successfully administer the grant and work with students and community members in our area, which led to the University’s application for the endowment that was awarded this year.

“This endowment is an example of how individuals and organizations can support UNM’s students and programs for years to come,” said Henry Nemcik, UNM Foundation President and CEO. “This generous gift will not only help our non-traditional students achieve their goals, but also inspire others to give to the University.”

The Bernard Osher Foundation was founded in 1977 by respected businessman and community leader, Bernard Osher. Headquartered in San Francisco, the Foundation seeks to improve the quality of life through support for higher education and the arts through the provision of post-secondary scholarship funding to colleges and universities across the nation, especially for reentry students who wish to fulfill their higher education goals.

The Osher scholarship has been already been awarded for the fall 2014 semester, but will be available again in February 2015. For more information, visit the College Enrichment Program website or call (505) 277-5321.