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New Scholarship Supports SLU Students’ Success at Critical Points

02/02/2021Media Inquiries

Carrie Bebermeyer
Public Relations Director

Reserved for members of the media.

ST. LOUIS — Saint Louis University has created a new scholarship program designed to support low-income, first-generation SLU students from historically underrepresented minority populations, many of whom start college but do not complete their degrees.

Named the Accelerating Access and Success Scholarship, it aims to enhance college readiness, increase degree completion rates and lower student-loan debt loads by providing funding at two critical points in the student life cycle: the final 45 to 60 hours – junior and senior years – and summer learning opportunities that enhance college success skills. 

“This important program allows for our students to continue their education at SLU without the stress of having to either secure a large private loan or having to work multiple jobs in order to make ends meet,” said Lindsay Gonterman, program director of the TRIO-Student Support program at SLU. “By limiting the loans a student has to take out, these funds can help to better ensure the future financial success of our students. This award makes it possible for students to graduate on time, and in some cases, prevents a student from having to pause their degree progress.”

The new scholarship is made possible by a generous gift from the Enterprise Holdings Foundation.

“We are grateful to the Enterprise Holdings Foundation and its leaders for recognizing the immense value of higher education for students who face significant barriers to degree completion,” said SLU President Fred P. Pestello, Ph.D. “The Foundation’s support helps solidify the University’s commitment to creating equity in higher education and will afford future Billikens opportunities for a rigorous, values-based education that will positively impact their families for generations to come.”

“We are pleased to be able to support SLU’s efforts to help students, especially students from underserved communities who are disproportionately affected by lack of access to the resources needed to graduate and earn a degree,” said Enterprise Holdings Foundation President Carolyn Kindle Betz.

Students eligible for the scholarship must be enrolled as a degree-seeking undergraduate at SLU. The awarding process prioritizes local students who graduated from one of 25 high schools in St. Louis metropolitan area districts, including Florissant, Hazelwood, Jennings, Overland, Webster Groves, University City and the City of St. Louis, and who intend to major in business, entrepreneurship, STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) and health care fields. The scholarship will provide support to between 40 to 55 students per year.

Additionally, recipients must qualify for Pell Grants and/or one of three federal TRIO programs, which prepare and support low-income, first-generation students as they progress through the academic pipeline from middle school to graduate school. These programs provide the resources and services the students need on their path to college graduation and whatever lies beyond, including tutoring, academic advising, mentoring, financial literacy resources and cultural exploration.

To date, 98 students have received aid from the Accelerating Access and Success Scholarship. The awards were distributed on a limited basis in the scholarship’s pilot year (July 1, 2019 through June 30, 2020). The scholarship is expected to operate at full capacity in fiscal year 2021 and forward. 

The new scholarship furthers the University’s goal of ensuring greater access to SLU for students of all socio-economic backgrounds by increasing available scholarships, one of the five strategic priorities of Accelerating Excellence: The Campaign for Saint Louis University. The historic fundraising effort, which launched its public phase in November 2018, aims to propel SLU to national prominence as a world-class research university. To date, the campaign has raised more than $400 million of its $500 million goal.

About Accelerating Excellence

Accelerating Excellence: The Campaign for Saint Louis University is a historic $500 million comprehensive fundraising effort designed to strengthen Saint Louis University by committing resources to the strategic priorities of academic excellence, health sciences, business education, athletics and scholarships. Visit for more information.

About Saint Louis University

Founded in 1818, Saint Louis University is one of the nation’s oldest and most prestigious Catholic institutions. Rooted in Jesuit values and its pioneering history as the first university west of the Mississippi River, SLU offers more than 12,000 students a rigorous, transformative education of the whole person. At the core of the University’s diverse community of scholars is SLU’s service-focused mission, which challenges and prepares students to make the world a better, more just place.

About Enterprise Holdings Foundation

The Enterprise Holdings Foundation is the philanthropic arm of Enterprise Holdings, which, through its integrated network of independent regional subsidiaries and franchises, operates the Enterprise Rent-A-Car, National Car Rental and Alamo Rent A Car brands. Since 1982, the Foundation and the Taylor family have contributed more than $1.4 billion to thousands of local nonprofits, with a special focus on community improvement, education and environmental stewardship. Meanwhile, each year Enterprise employees contribute their time and skills to thousands of national and local organizations in the cities and neighborhoods they serve.