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Many students cite a particular program, a family legacy, or even the rich history of the university's football team, when asked why they chose to apply to the University of Michigan. For LSA sophomore Josie McCarthy, it was the university’s robust scholarship and financial aid support.
“Growing up in Michigan, the University of Michigan was always my dream school, but I was not convinced to apply until an admissions representative from U-M came to speak at my high school. Hearing about the multitude of financial aid that could be available to me was a large reason for sending in my application,” said Josie.
Josie’s LSA scholarships have meant the world to her. Like so many other bright students who at first might question whether they belong at Michigan because of their families’ inability to pay, she notes that financial support has allowed her more freedom to focus on her studies, participate in learning experiences outside the classroom, and enjoy college life fully.
I think it is important for alumni to support student scholarships in LSA because it is a great way to give back to your school. It helps many other students enjoy our amazing university, and explore all of the amazing opportunities and programs you once did. Without alumni support, students like myself would not be able to acquire such essential and enjoyable academic experiences.
In Josie’s first year at Michigan, she joined the Program In The Environment (PITE) club (“I enjoyed the group so much that I have become an executive board member this year!”), and got involved in Students for Reproductive Rights and Justice (SRRJ) and several forums offered by the Residential College (RC), a Michigan Learning Community based in East Quad.
“I appreciate that LSA offers the opportunity to engage in smaller learning communities like the Residential College. Coming from a small town, the opportunity to make such a large campus feel a little smaller was extremely helpful in my transition to college life,” she said. “Living in East Quad last fall, my RC peers and I were able to support one another and help each other navigate through the difficulties of online classes. This support system was extremely helpful in the second semester, as I chose to return home when most of the dorms closed due to the pandemic.”
The generous scholarship support from LSA donors that makes it possible for the college to offer assistance to students with financial need helps the college, too. Making it more affordable to attend enables LSA to build a more diverse and inclusive student population with varied perspectives from a broad range of social, economic, and geographic backgrounds. Once they’re here, LSA works hard to help students find their place and their purpose, in both the campus community and the global one at-large.
“I found out about PITE club through an RC mentor I had freshman year. We were connected over our mutual interest in the environment,” said Josie, who is planning a double major in international studies and the environment.
Josie has always had an interest in politics, and was thrilled to discover that LSA’s Program in International and Comparative Studies (PICS) offers a 360°, solution-oriented and multi-disciplinary approach to understanding and addressing global challenges and problems in real time. Her international, political, and environmental interests have gelled in PICS’ Global Health and Environment subplan, which will allow her to explore how global and regional politics impact the environment and the health of citizens.
“I have also chosen to double-major in the Environment because I think that the increasingly prominent effects of climate change will soon play a great role in global political debate,” she added.
Josie’s scholarship support has made it possible for her to blaze her own trail via the courses, clubs, and activities that constitute a focused, personalized undergraduate experience. She hopes to further enrich her journey next summer through classes at Camp Davis, the university’s field station in Jackson, Wyoming, or the U-M Biological Station in northern Michigan.
“I am a recipient of both need-based scholarships and the Alvin M. and Arvella D. Bentley Scholarship. Being back on campus in person this fall has been amazing, and these scholarships are what made it possible. The support is especially meaningful to me this year,” Josie said, referring to job losses and additional financial strain her family suffered as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Her family’s story echoes those of numerous other students who rely on financial aid to attend Michigan.
“Without scholarships and other financial assistance from the University of Michigan, I would not be able to attend our amazing university or to focus on my education without severe financial burden. It’s more important now than ever.”
Give Back to Where it All Began
Now more than ever, your support for the LSA Annual Fund is helping students with financial need return to campus—like Josie, who is exploring how she can use her liberal arts education and passion for international and environmental studies to solve some of the world’s wickedest problems.