A Major Incentive

9 December 2019

The Ignat Challenge will increase financial aid for first-generation and low-income students.

An elderly couple pose arm-in-arm, smiling
Eleanor P. Ignat and David W. Ignat ’63

A $5 million gift from David Ignat ’63 and Eleanor Ignat, pledged in November, is designed to ensure that a Carleton education is possible for more first-generation and low-income students.

The Ignat Challenge matches outright commitments of $50,000 to $2.5 million that create or add to an existing endowed scholarship fund that gives preference to first-generation, federal Pell Grant–eligible, or low-income students.

The challenge, if successful, will result in $10 million of new financial aid endowment that will generate funds in perpetuity.

“The Ignat Challenge ensures our continued commitment to keeping a Carleton education accessible to first-generation students and students from low-income families,” says President Steven Poskanzer. “Carleton is so fortunate to be the beneficiary of David and Eleanor’s generosity, and we are grateful for the opportunities their gift will make possible for generations of students to come.”

Access is a crucial priority in the Every Carl for Carleton campaign, which launched in October 2018 with a $400 million fund-raising goal. Eleven percent of Carleton students are among the first in their families to attend college, and 14 percent qualify for Pell Grants (most eligible students come from families with an income of less than $20,000). Roughly ten percent of Carleton students come from homes where the family income is less than $40,000; they receive an average financial aid package of $66,000.

“I have experienced the life-changing power of a Carleton education, and I believe every student should have access to the extraordinary liberal arts experience the college provides,” says David Ignat.

“Every student adds to the richness of the Carleton community, which benefits from a student body that reflects the diverse perspectives of all socioeconomic backgrounds,” adds Eleanor Ignat. “We are inspired to play a role in the college’s continued success in enrolling the most talented and deserving students.”

The Ignats have also supported the development of Carleton’s new science complex, Evelyn M. Anderson Hall, and in 2007 established the Kolenkow-Reitz Fund for Student Scientific Research, which supports students pursuing on- or off-campus research projects during summer or winter breaks. Additionally, the Ignats provided support for the Robert A. Oden Jr. Postdoctoral Fellowship and the annual fund.

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