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Johnson C. Smith University Receives $2.5 Million from The Duke Endowment

Charlotte, N.C. (October 28, 2013) – Johnson C. Smith University has received a $2.5 million grant from The Duke Endowment to sustain its momentum and foster a community where all deserving students enjoy access to higher education.

The funds from The Duke Endowment will help cover a scholarship gap due in large part to more restrictive eligibility standards related to the U.S. Department of Education’s Parent PLUS Loan Program. Tighter underwriting standards in the loan program have had a disproportionate impact on historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) that serve greater numbers of disadvantaged students.

“Many of today’s JCSU students face significant financial barriers that result in gaps between the aid they receive and the total cost of their college education,” said Ronald L. Carter, president of Johnson C. Smith University. Approximately 85 percent of JCSU students receive some form of financial aid; 45 percent are first-generation students, and 70 percent come from low-income households. “Such statistics speak to the compelling and diverse needs of these students and the constant pressure they carry as they seek ways to finance their education,” Carter continued. “We are grateful to The Duke Endowment for helping us maintain our commitment to this group.”             

Johnson C. Smith University has a growing national reputation for integrating the liberal arts with business, the sciences and technology in ways that empower tomorrow’s diverse entrepreneurial citizens and leaders. Offering 22 fields of study to more than 1,300 students from a variety of ethnic, socioeconomic and geographic backgrounds, the university’s academic programs focus on servant leadership, civic engagement and global responsibility.

“The unexpected changes to the Parent PLUS loan program have clearly had an impact on enrollment at HBCUs, including Johnson C. Smith,” said Wilhelmina Reuben-Cooke, The Duke Endowment Trustee who chairs the Endowment’s Committee on Educational Institutions. “This grant will help the university increase access to educational opportunities and make college affordable for more students.”

The Duke Endowment, a private foundation in Charlotte, N.C., seeks to fulfill the legacy of James B. Duke by improving lives and communities in the Carolinas through higher education, health care, rural churches and children’s services. Since its inception, the Endowment has awarded over $3 billion in grants.

Founded in 1867, Johnson C. Smith University is an independent, close-knit urban university located in Charlotte, N.C. For more information about JCSU, visit or follow the university on social media sites Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn and   

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