The UCLA Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science has received a $1.3 million endowment gift from an anonymous donor to fund scholarships for financially needy undergraduates.

By Wileen Wong Kromhout

In an effort to double the number of scholarships the endowment will provide, UCLA Engineering is leveraging the gift, asking other donors to give $25,000 or more, to be matched by this fund. In this way, the school will be able to provide 48 scholarships — rather than just 24 — worth $50,000 each, beginning in fall 2009. Each scholarship will be named for the donor who matches the challenge gift amount.

“The generosity of this donation, along with those who match the challenge gift amounts, will provide for students with the greatest need,” said Vijay K. Dhir, dean of UCLA Engineering. “With the cost of attending UCLA exceeding the ability of many low- and middle-income families, scholarships for engineering undergraduates are now an urgent necessity. As part of our Enhancing Engineering Excellence initiative, the school’s priority has been to raise $5 million in endowed scholarship funds to create 100 new engineering scholarships.”

Endowed undergraduate scholarships help the school preserve its tradition of diversity, affordability and access. Unlike public funds, which vary from year to year, annual income from a scholarship endowment guarantees renewable support, enabling more students to realize their dream of an education at UCLA.

UCLA Engineering, committed to an enriched undergraduate education, has made recent enhancements to its curriculum, offering new interdisciplinary courses and additional research opportunities. Undergraduate scholarships will allow more engineering students of diverse backgrounds to participate fully in this new and exciting environment.

This year, UCLA Engineering’s scholarship program made more than 170 undergraduate scholarships — worth over $500,000 — available to students.

While the new scholarships will be awarded based on financial need, grade-point average and extracurricular activities will also be considered.