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Tuesday October 14, 2008Billy Donovan and Urban Meyer Co-Chair Drive to Raise Scholarship Funds

Gainesville, Fla.

University of Florida head basketball coach Billy Donovan and head football coach Urban Meyer are teaming up to lead a drive to raise $50 million to fund UF’s Florida Opportunity Scholars program.  This program is designed to provide financial support for first-generation, financially disadvantaged students working toward a bachelor’s degree.


Florida President Bernie Machen created the Florida Opportunity Scholars program in 2006 to provide financial assistance to Florida students admitted to UF whose annual household income is below $40,000 and whose parents do not hold a bachelor’s degree.  Currently, 1,100 students are being served through this beneficial program and the total coast is estimated at $5.7 million.  Next year, 1,600 students are projected to receive aid, if the funding is available.


“This is a program of which I’m particularly proud,”Machen said. “It’s all about opportunity.  The annual cost to keep it funded has reached $5.7 million and that will only go higher next year. We’re making an appeal for private support, and having Billy and Urban involved can only mean success for our efforts.”


Donovan and Meyer will co-chair the fundraising initiative because of their personal interests in putting academics first.  They will serve as ambassadors to encourage not only the fan base for UF athletics to get behind the program, but also the many others who share their priorities toward academics.


Meyer has long been a proponent of giving eligible students the change to succeed at Florida.


“I'm a firm believer in opportunity,” said Meyer. “A big part of what we all do in a University setting is providing opportunities. Providing scholarships to financially disadvantaged students who are first-generation college students will be a life changing opportunity. I'm honored to be a part of that process.”


Donovan is on the same page.


“I see firsthand the need to make sure that kids with the qualifications to attend the University of Florida get that chance regardless of their financial means,” Donovan said. “You don’t tell a student ‘Sorry we can’t help you’ when they’re willing to make it in the classroom and have an opportunity to take on life with a UF degree.”


The program provides a full scholarship package each year for enrollment in a baccalaureate degree program, as well as providing funds for books and room and board.


Once eligible Florida Opportunity Scholar students are admitted and identified through UF’s Student Affairs office, they must maintain satisfactory academic progress and be enrolled for at least 12 credit hours per semester.


More information on the Florida Opportunity Scholars program is available at




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