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More Support for George’s Brigade

February 18, 2016

Global law firm DLA Piper commits $50,000 to the initiative to help high-ability, high-need students attend Washington College.

Washington College’s new initiative to help high-ability, high-need students attain a private liberal arts education has gained a partner in DLA Piper, a global law firm that has committed $50,000 toward the effort. With this gift and others, endowed funding for George’s Brigade has climbed over $2.5 million in only a few months.

“Enabling access to education for underrepresented young people is one of DLA Piper’s long-term goals and legacies,” says College President Sheila Bair. “With this gift to George’s Brigade, they will be helping do exactly that for students who are hungry for the kind of multidisciplinary education that Washington College provides so well. We’re grateful to have DLA Piper’s support in creating opportunities for these students to achieve, thrive, and succeed.”

Since assuming her leadership of the College last August, Bair has made higher education affordability and lower student debt leading priorities. Through George’s Brigade, high-performing students whose families would otherwise not have the resources to pay for a private liberal arts education will have their full financial need met, including room and board. If students wish to borrow for incidental expenses, the program requires that they limit their loans to $2,500 per year. This will give them the opportunity to receive an excellent education and strong start to their careers without large amounts of debt.

George’s Brigade will also allow students to apply to Washington College and be admitted in groups from the same community or school so that they have companions to share their transition to college life. The initiative will also include special programming, events, mentoring, and career counseling for the enrolled students.

Financial aid is important for almost all Washington College students and their families, Bair says, but it is especially vital for first-generation college students, whose families often require the most assistance in paying for their education. Every year, Washington College provides more than $23 million in grants and scholarships, with 90% of students receiving merit-based scholarships or need-based financial aid.

“Lower-income, first-generation students attending college face two major challenges: the lack of financial resources, which too often leads to excessive debt loads, and lack of adequate social and academic support. With George’s Brigade, we have established a program to address these challenges and help ensure these talented students’ success,” says Bair.

Since its inception in late 2015, George’s Brigade has received support from a variety of sources, most notably $1.6 million from Larry Culp ’85, president of the Board of Visitors and Governors, and $750,000 from The Hodson Trust. The first group of George’s Brigade students will matriculate this fall with the class of 2020.

Last modified on Feb. 23rd, 2016 at 3:58pm by Wendy Clarke.