Because Access Is Crucial

 For centuries, the higher education world has accepted the idea that making an institution accessible to a broader cross-section of students means lowering academic standards. But it doesn't have to. At UCF, we are committed to expanding access by creating new means of entry and success.

Opportunity is about opening doors and removing obstacles. In this economy, the hurdle that most often stands in the way of a UCF education is affordability. Increasing numbers of academically qualified students and their families simply can’t absorb the rising cost of higher education — even at a public institution as reasonably priced as UCF.

With current student aid resources, UCF is able to meet only two-thirds of demonstrated need, and far too much of that aid consists of student loans. That’s simply not good enough. As a public institution, we must continue to increase accessibility so that today’s students can be tomorrow’s leaders.

Private support has made the picture considerably brighter, but we must do more to increase access and expand opportunity in the years ahead, when a solutions-focused, globally savvy education will be more important than ever.

What’s at stake is not only the dreams and aspirations of students and their families, but UCF's own future as an institution of national distinction and international reach.


"As a first generation college graduate myself, I know first hand the life-changing impact of a college education.

—UCF President John C. Hitt

Because the Funding Gap Keeps Growing

 

As states across the nation tightened their respective belts in the wake of the last decade’s recession, funding for public higher education was among the first places budgets were cut. From 2008 to 2013, in fact, Florida reduced its financial support to UCF by 49 percent. Today funding remains well below 2008 levels. 

At the same time, raising tuition to make up the shortfall would make UCF inaccessible to far too many promising Knights-to-be. That means private support from alumni, friends and corporate partners is increasingly vital. Gifts not only help UCF withstand fluctuations in state funding levels, but also allow the university to aggressively pursue excellence as we continue our ascent as a global leader in higher education.

Among the most powerful ways to help ensure UCF’s future success is by creating or contributing to an endowed fund. Endowed gifts are invested, rather than spent, so that a portion of their annual earnings can be used to fund scholarships, faculty chairs and professorships and other university priorities for generations to come.

Because they provide financial security and stability in the future, gifts that increase the endowment are crucial to UCF’s success. They also bring considerable prestige and directly affect our national rankings.

DEEP CUTS

Nationwide, states spent 28% less per student on higher education in fiscal 2013 than in 2008. In Florida, the cut was 41.2%, the fifth largest in the nation.* At the same time, tuition in Florida is among the lowest in the country — 43rd out of 50 for four-year, in-state tuition.**

*Center for Budget and Policy Priorities

**College Board

Because UCF Makes Central Florida Better

 

Put aside for a minute the art exhibits, the performances, holiday community events, hundreds of thousands of hours of service-learning and community service per year, and NCAA Division I athletics, and focus for a minute just on UCF’s economic impact. 

The university employs about 11,500 people, impacts more than 112,000 additional jobs and adds $7.73 billion of value to the economy, according to a 2009-10 study by the Florida Board of Governors. In other words, great things happen when the second-largest university in the nation is located in one of the fastest-growing cities.

UCF is a driver of economic development, research, innovation, technology, entrepreneurship and the arts. Whether your gift helps fund need-based student scholarships to make a UCF education accessible to more of the region’s promising students; helps recruit top-achieving students who can choose from virtually any university; helps advance groundbreaking research activity; or helps enhance UCF’s faculty, facilities, and programs,  every dollar donated to the university is a commitment to a better, bolder and brighter future for Central Florida and beyond.

Because It Makes Your Degree More Valuable

 

A better UCF doesn’t just benefit today’s and tomorrow’s students; it benefits yesterday’s too. The fact is that your degree isn’t judged nearly as much by your alma mater’s reputation when it was awarded as it is by your alma mater’s reputation now. In other words, if you’re a UCF alumnus or alumna, the better the university gets, the more prestigious your degree becomes.

And with your help, UCF has quickly emerged as a university of national significance. Academically, we enrolled 240 National Merit Scholars in this year – the second-highest number in Florida and among the top 40 in the nation. We’re also Kiplinger’s Personal Finance "Best Value" university and a U.S. News & World Report "Top Tier National University."

Thanks to innovative programs, visionary leadership, community support and an entrepreneurial spirit, what began 50 years ago as a small, relatively specialized university built on reclaimed swampland outside town is now the second-largest university in the country with 60,000 students from 50 states and 130 countries, more than 200 degree programs, nine regional campuses, a new medical school, a BCS bowl win, and a very big reputation.

 


"What began 50 years ago as a small university built on reclaimed swampland outside town..."

Because Our Research Changes the World

At UCF, we pursue breakthrough research in disciplines ranging from cancer treatment to hospitality management and optical networks to public administration. 

Today's American colleges and universities perform the majority of the nation's basic research — the kind of research that not only seeks medical and scientific breakthroughs but also yields discoveries that positively impact our daily lives and drive the innovation economy. 

At UCF, we conduct research of global significance in areas like computer science, alternative fuels, early cancer detection, stem cell technology and planetary sciences.

In the Burnett School of Biomedical Sciences, for example, cancer researcher Annette Khaled is working out innovative therapies and techniques to hunt down and kill cancer cells that leave the original tumors and travel to other parts of the body.

Research is costly, though, and federal funding for basic research is declining. That makes private support for research initiatives more important than ever — a vital element in the work of UCF's scientists, innovators and scholars as they pursue exciting lines of inquiry toward discoveries that make the world a better place.


Private support for research initiatives is more important than ever — a vital element in the work of UCF's scientists, innovators and scholars as they pursue exciting lines of inquiry toward discoveries that make the world a better place.

© University of Central Florida Foundation, Inc. 2017