Philanthropist and author MacKenzie Scott and husband Dan Jewett have announced a $40 million gift to FIU. The gift is unrestricted and will be used to support student success programs.
“Higher education is a proven pathway to opportunity, so we looked for 2 and 4-year institutions successfully educating students who come from communities that have been chronically underserved,” Scott wrote in the announcement today.
FIU is the No. 1 institution awarding bachelor’s degrees to Hispanic students in the U.S. and No. 6 in the nation in awarding engineering degrees to African Americans. At FIU, Hispanic students earn a higher percentage of bachelor’s degrees in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) than non-Hispanic students. Approximately 85 percent of FIU students are minorities and more than 66 percent are Hispanic. The graduation rate for Hispanics is higher than the overall graduation rate.
“At some point in the past few years, FIU became the engine that drives South Florida,” said FIU Board of Trustees Chair Dean C. Colson. “This gift is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to transform our university, create greater opportunity for our diverse student body and in the process make an important contribution toward the betterment of our community.”
As one of Florida’s and the nation’s top public universities, FIU has been recognized for its success serving first-generation students. At FIU, Pell Grant recipients graduate at a higher rate than their non-Pell Grant peers and the university ranks No. 13 for social mobility among public universities by U.S. News & World Report.
“This generous gift is a game-changer for FIU and our students’ success for generations to come,” said FIU President Mark B. Rosenberg. “Ms. Scott, Mr. Jewett and their team have taken note of our work serving a diverse student body and developing evidence-based strategies that have proven effective in helping our students succeed. This gift allows us to augment programs that we know work, develop models that can be replicated elsewhere, lift communities and combat poverty.”
FIU will invest in programs that have fueled student success, developed with integrated and proactive student advocacy and focused on academic and career programmatic support systems, such as the STEM Transformation Institute, the Mastery Math Lab and the largest learning assistant program in the nation, as well as Connect4Success partnerships that seamlessly guide students through the state’s college system and transfer to FIU.
FIU also has a series of programs designed to support vulnerable students of all backgrounds. One such program is Fostering Panther Pride, which offers financial assistance and life coaching to students who were previously in foster care. Scholarship programs, emergency and completion grants also have proven successful.
With more than $260 million in sponsored research, FIU is an R1 institution with faculty and students who are making a real difference in social justice, innovation, entrepreneurship, healthcare and the environment. In fact, Times Higher Education ranks FIU the No. 3 public university in the U.S. and No. 11 in the world for its work on life below water.
The Scott gift contributes to the university’s Next Horizon campaign.