Sometimes a Little Help Goes a Long Way
Rutgers students need financial aid now more than ever. A large majority require assistance in order to attend the university, last year demonstrating $100 million in unmet financial need. In an era of declining state funding, philanthropy plays an increasingly critical role in our students’ success.
Scarlet Promise Grants offer essential financial support to talented students for whom a world-class Rutgers education would otherwise be impossible.
The grants help tomorrow’s leaders fulfill their potential. They change lives for the better. This is a promise kept—to them, to our fellow citizens, and to ourselves. The grants provide need-based aid to Rutgers students as part of their financial aid packages and, in some cases, to relieve short-term, temporary financial hardship. Funded through annual university budgeting and philanthropic resources inspired by a Rutgers Board of Trustees initiative, these grants help Rutgers fulfill its tripartite mission of education, research, and public service.
Leadership in Action
On his first day in office, July 1, 2020, President Jonathan Holloway kick-started a $10 million focused campaign for the Scarlet Promise Grants program. To launch the campaign, the president personally donated $75,000.
“My Scarlet Promise Grant helped alleviate some of my financial burden and made it possible for me to go to college.”
Scarlet Promise Grants FAQ
What are Scarlet Promise Grants?
Scarlet Promise Grants are need-based financial aid awards that close the gap between aid from federal and state sources and what Rutgers families can afford. Rutgers launched Scarlet Promise Grants in 1991 under the name Rutgers Assistance Grants.
Why are they necessary?
Today, traditional funding sources often come up short. The financial burden of higher education falls more squarely on the student than it did in the past. Last year, Rutgers students had an aggregate unmet financial need of more than $100 million—an average of nearly $10,000 per student.
How are they funded?
Scarlet Promise Grants are funded through a combination of a university budget allocation and philanthropy driven by a Board of Trustees initiative.
Who is eligible?
Most students with family income around $60,000 or less and an expected family contribution of $10,000 or less qualify. Last year, 10,473 students received Scarlet Promise Grants.
How does Rutgers distribute the funds?
Students receive Scarlet Promise Grants as part of their comprehensive financial aid packages. Rutgers also awards the grants for hardship appeals, such as the death of a parent, loss of employment, and health emergencies. They range from $500 to $5,000 per academic year.
Why is philanthropy important?
Simply put, philanthropy means the difference between good and exceptional. In an era of declining support from traditional sources, Scarlet Promise Grants and programs like it help position Rutgers among the world’s best colleges and universities, which make higher education accessible to talented students, regardless of their means.
What is the Trustees’ Endowment Initiative?
In 2019, the Rutgers Board of Trustees committed to creating an endowment dedicated to Scarlet Promise Grants—and to fund it by raising $3 million over 10 years. This endowment will fund the grants in perpetuity.
Once funded what can the endowment do?
Endowed funds have lasting power. For example, at $3 million, the Scarlet Promise Grants endowment could increase aid by $500 for nearly 250 students. It could fund 25 percent of the Rutgers dining plan cost for nearly 300 students. Or it could satisfy 25 percent of the entire unmet need (average $4,467) for more than 100 students.
Meet Past Recipients
Read about past Scarlet Grant Recipients