Our COVID-19 Response
The Bobcat Way
These scholarship funds help students impacted by COVID-19
At Texas State University, Bobcats help Bobcats. It has always been this way.
With student success as the goal, the university responded to assist students financially by implementing three programs: Bobcats to Bobcats Scholarship, Bobcat Promise, and Bobcat Cares.
BOBCATS TO BOBCATS
Bobcats to Bobcats was created to support students with tuition and fee costs for the fall 2020 semester. On Giving Tuesday, May 5, Bobcats to Bobcats was unveiled as an emergency response to COVID-19.
Eligible students applied by June 15 through the Bobcat Online Scholarship System (BOSS). The student’s individual award was dependent on need, number of applications, and how much money was available, says Dr. Christopher Murr, director, Financial Aid and Scholarships. “The size of the award should be enough to make an impact,” he says.
Bobcats to Bobcats was in direct response to the financial hardship students suffered when they lost their jobs at restaurants and retail outlets and in the service industries. Many of their families were also hard hit by the pandemic.
Richard Castro (B.A. ’70) donated $100,000 to Bobcats to Bobcats for students with the greatest need. Castro, an El Paso businessman, is also a Texas State Hero, the title given to individuals and organizations that give $1 million or more to the university. The Richard A. Castro Legacy Club is inside Strahan Arena at the University Events Center, and the undergraduate admissions center was renamed in his honor. In 1997, Castro was named a Distinguished Alumnus.
BOBCATS TO BOBCATS
was unveiled on May 5 as an emergency response to COVID-19. By August, 726 donors had donated nearly $500,000.
has changed its eligibility guidelines. Previously, the student's family adjusted gross income could not exceed $35,000 but for fall 2020 this was adjusted to $50,000.
provided $28.5 million in financial aid or refunds to 23,000 students.
“This is one way the university engaged our 200,000-plus alumni in support of the students. It’s a heroes’ story. The heroes are the givers,” says Dr. Dan Perry, assistant vice president, University Advancement.
New York residents and Bobcat alumni Benjamin (B.B.A. ’15) and Kaitlynn Culpepper (B.S. ’14) have established two Texas State scholarships. Benjamin, who has a degree in economics, is pursuing an acting career, while Kaitlynn, who earned a biology degree from Texas State and a master’s degree in New York, is a financial analyst with Healthfirst.
The Kaitlynn and Benjamin Culpepper scholarship is targeted to women in a STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) field. The economics scholarship is named for Benjamin’s grandparents, Archie (B.S. ’59) and Elizabeth Culpepper.
“The main goal when we set it up — we were hoping to help students out with some initial costs of the semester. Bobcats toBobcats makes it a little bit easier to give,” Benjamin says. Kaitlynn, who says she received scholarships while at Texas State, agrees. “I think for Ben and me, we had talked about doing scholarships a lot. Does it make sense now or should we wait on it?”
Cicero Rust III (B.A ’72), a retired high school Spanish teacher who makes his home in Blanco, has long donated to Bobcat scholarships. Rust recently created a scholarship within Bobcats to Bobcats to support students in the musical theatre program who were impacted by the coronavirus.
Bobcat Promise has existed at the university for about 15 years and was expanded for the second time since its creation. Previously, the student’s family adjusted gross income could not exceed $35,000, but for fall 2020 this was adjusted to $50,000. Eligible students are those who were admitted as freshmen and filled out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) by March 15, 2020.
Some 5,600-perspective freshman who were admitted this fall qualified for Bobcat Promise. This program’s combination of grants covers tuition and mandatory fees for up to eight continuous long (fall or spring) semesters for a student. Students are eligible for renewal if they complete 15 credit hours during the semester and maintain at least a cumulative 2.0 GPA.
More than 23,000 students received financial aid or refunds totaling $28.5 million dollars between spring and summer. This student assistance was funded by the federal Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund authorized by the CARES Act. The CARES allocation helps Texas State students deal with the financial burden caused by the disruption of campus operations due to the COVID-19 crisis by allowing the university to provide money directly to students.
Additional CARES Act funding assisted in providing emergency grants to all students enrolled in summer courses and prorated refunds of certain spring semester charges.
The Bobcat Cares Emergency Grant made it possible to assist many students financially with direct student payments via check or direct deposit. “We knew there was a real need among our students, and we worked quickly to disburse, ona weekly basis, as many of these direct student payments as possible to eligible students,” says Stephanie Lopez, assistant director, Financial Aid and Scholarships.
“Our hope is that this grant made a difference and was helpful in covering some of their immediate, unexpected expenses during this extraordinary time.” Bobcat Cares is administered through Financial Aid and Scholarships and the Dean of Students Office. ✪