Oregon football coach Mark Helfrich is hoping to make a big score for UO students.
Helfrich, the leader of the nationally recognized Ducks football team, is tackling a fundraising challenge of raising a minimum of $500,000 in new donations for the PathwayOregon scholarship program. He and his staff have pledged personal donations of up to $250,000 in matching funds for the program.
PathwayOregon allows students who are among the state’s brightest and who otherwise might not be able to afford college to attend the UO tuition-free.
Dubbed the Football Coaches Challenge, the aim is to raise at least a half-million dollars for the scholarship program in time for the football team’s May 2 Spring Game. The annual intrasquad scrimmage, open to the public in Autzen Stadium, serves as a culmination for the team’s spring workouts in preparation for this fall’s football season.
PathwayOregon provides full tuition, fees and advising support for more than 1,700 Pell-grant eligible Oregonians through a combination of federal, state and institutional funds. Sixty-three percent of Pathway students will be the first in their families to earn college degrees.
Pathway enrollment grew by more than 33 percent last year through a $923,000 increase in program funding. The Football Coaches Challenge will further expand the opportunities to more qualified Oregon high school graduates.