Give-1Look into the eyes of today’s pharmacy students and you’ll see some of the brightest, most optimistic and best-trained young people ever to enter the School’s doors. Look a little more closely and you’ll see red.

These are the most indebted students in School history. While 95 percent work to pay their tuition, nearly 100 percent graduate with an average debt of $113,000. A full 80 percent qualify for financial aid, but the School has only enough scholarship funding to help 25 percent. Of the students who decline admission, 47 percent cite better aid packages from other schools as their reason for not attending UNC.

Dean Blouin knows students who struggle to stay in school and he reads the files of the ones who can’t even afford to try. That’s why scholarship funding is one of his highest priorities. “As tuition has increased, some of the best students see our School to be financially out of reach,” he said. “If those students can’t afford to attend our School, we will be the poorer.”

Students know that scholarship support transcends their immediate financial need. Listen as they thank scholarship donors for their support:

My scholarship has not only significantly reduced my financial burden, it also encouraged me to continue volunteering for outreach events and give back to the community.

I am able to work fewer hours and devote more time to coursework and student organizations. This scholarship not only positively impacts me, it also helps the patients we serve.

I am so grateful for the generosity of the alumni … I hope to be able to give back to the School in this same way to help future student pharmacists pursue their dreams.

Your investment in me has inspired me to work even harder at bettering the health of our patients.

I am extremely thankful for my scholarship and it reminds me that our alumni are supporting me. It’s exciting to know that one day I will be able to pay it forward.

Anyone can play a role in changing students’ lives. Every dollar given to the Pharmacy Scholarships and Awards Fund goes directly to students that we promise will make you proud.

A new program allows donors to immediately help students in a significant way. Donors to the Carolina Pharmacy Annual Scholarship Program pledge a minimum of $5,000 per year for four years. The donors name their scholarships, establish selection criteria in consultation with the School and meet their scholarship recipients. An annual scholarship at this level has the impact of a $100,000 scholarship endowment, and until now, this level of support has been available only to endowed scholarship donors.

Laura BonifacioLaura Bonifacio, a 2005 PharmD and 2010 PhD graduate, and her husband Al, were the first donors to sign on.

“People in my age group and recent grads are still paying debt and starting families,” Bonifacio said. “A lot of us may be interested in making a commitment, but not at the level of an endowed scholarship. This way you get a nice financial impact one bite at a time. We probably would have put this off if we had to do it in one big chunk, but this amount every year is manageable for us.”

Bonifacio’s scholarship benefits PharmD students who are interested in research. “We went the PharmD route because they are saddled with an enormous financial burden when they graduate,” she said. The award benefits students interested in research because she wanted more PharmD students to see research as a potential career opportunity.

Bonifacio’s first gift was last year. She has met the first scholarship recipient and seen the impact first-hand. “Even beyond the dollars, there’s a huge impact on the students,” she said. “You are creating a connection with those students. You are saying to them, ‘we see you, we believe in you, we trust you and you’re doing great things.’”