The University of Notre Dame has announced a $20 million gift from alumnus Sean Cullinan ('88) and his wife, Sue, to launch a scholarship program for low-income students.
The Fighting Irish Initiative will fund full scholarships that cover tuition and fees, room and board, books, transportation, and personal expenses for students from households with incomes under $50,000. The initiative also will create a comprehensive enrichment program aimed at helping those students adjust to a collegiate environment and pay for warm winter clothing, laptop computers, study abroad program expenses, tickets to university athletic and other events, and travel home over semester breaks. The gift also will fund the hiring of a full-time director to oversee the program and engage with other donors.
At Notre Dame, financial aid has been a top fundraising priority for more than twenty-five years, during which period university-based aid has increased to $117.8 million, from $5 million in 1990. More than half the university's undergraduate population receives need-based aid.
"We want to ensure that the talented students who are admitted to Notre Dame are able to attend and find a supportive home here," said university president Rev. John I. Jenkins. "We are tremendously grateful to Sean and Sue for their willingness to fund an initiative that will make a Notre Dame education a reality for those who are in need of financial assistance, and then to make the years they spend here on campus as successful and rewarding as possible."