An anonymous alum of the University of Chicago awarded the school a $100 million gift, the largest in the institution’s history, to launch a sweeping financial-aid program.
The donation will be used as the foundation of a $400 million effort to provide scholarships for undergraduate students from middle- and lower-income groups.
The school expects the resulting Odyssey Scholarships, which will be available to existing and incoming students beginning in the fall of 2008, to benefit almost one in four students at the university.
The awards will eliminate student loans for those whose families earn less than $60,000 year, and will halve the loans for those with incomes from $60,000 to $75,000.
For some incoming freshmen, the program also will provide a summer program and a pass on work-study obligations in their first year.
Part of the donation will be in matching form to encourage others to contribute to the overall goal of raising $400 million for the Odyssey Scholarship program.
“I give this gift in the hopes that future generations of students will not be prevented from attending the college because of financial incapacity and may graduate without the siren of debt distracting them from taking risks and fulfilling dreams,” the unnamed donor says in a statement.