History of the UF Division of Student Affairs - Page 85

85 Machen Florida Opportunity Scholars Program In 2005, the State of Florida allocated funds for state universities to support first generation students by creating the First Generation Match Grant. Simultaneously, the UF recognized the growing need to support this student population as academically-talented yet extremely financially-needy students were being admitted to UF but were choosing not to attend because of the rising costs of higher education and the pervasive fear of debt. As such, President Dr. Bernie Machen tasked the Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs with designing a new financial aid access and success program for first generation college students from economically disadvantaged backgrounds. In early 2006, President Machen approved a proposal to provide full grant and scholarship financial aid packages to first generation freshmen who are Florida residents and from families who made less than $40,000 per year. The program, which was endorsed by the UF Board of Trustees, was named the Florida Opportunity Scholars Program (FOS) and was available to 400 first-time-in-college students enrolling for the first time in Summer 2006. In February 2013, the program was officially renamed the Machen Florida Opportunity Scholars Program (MFOS) after securing the program’s largest financial gift ($10 million) given by an anonymous donor in honor of President Machen and his commitment to the students and this program. The ultimate goal of the MFOS program is to support students earning bachelor’s degrees without accruing student loan debt. Because of the full-grant and scholarship support awarded to students, the program is a costly endeavor. In the first year of the program, 400 first-year students were supported for a total cost of $2 million. Annual program costs have risen to $15 million to fund bot h returning students and a new first-year class every year since 2006. Financial support comes from private donations and the state match grant as well as university allocated funds. The current endowment is $35 million. The MFOS program continues to receive support from former President Machen, Vice President for Student Affairs Dave Kratzer, Machen Florida Opportunity Scholars Program Director Leslie Pendleton, and donors as well as campus administrators, faculty, alumni, and students. Depa rtment histor ies : machen flor ida opportun ity scholars progr am