Villanova Receives $500,000 from The Coca-Cola Foundation to Support First Generation Students from Greater Philadelphia

University is first in northeastern United States to be awarded First Generation Scholarship funding from The Coca-Cola Foundation

VILLANOVA, Pa. –The Coca-Cola Foundation has awarded $500,000 to Villanova University to provide financial assistance for students who are the first in their immediate families to attend college. This multi-year award will benefit 20 Villanova students from the five-county greater Philadelphia area by establishing a Coca-Cola First Generation Scholarship Program at the University.

The Coca-Cola Foundation, the global philanthropic arm of The Coca-Cola Company, awarded $26 million in grants to 85 community organizations during the first quarter of 2012—including $4.3 million for first generation college scholarships.

“Villanova is honored to be the first school in the Northeast selected to receive First Generation Scholarship funding from Coca-Cola,” said the Rev. Peter M. Donohue, OSA, PhD, Villanova University President. “The University was founded by the Augustinians to educate the local immigrant population. The development of the Coca-Cola First Generation Scholarship Program at Villanova builds upon our longstanding commitment to attract an increasingly diverse applicant pool, educate underserved students, and serve first generation college students.

“We value our ongoing partnership with The Coca-Cola Company, and thank The Coca-Cola Foundation for providing Villanova students with this generous support,” Donohue said.

Five student-scholars will be named as Villanova’s inaugural 2012-2013 Coca-Cola First Generation Scholarship recipients. Five additional students will be selected every year for the next three years, for a total of 20 students who will each be eligible to receive a four-year scholarship. The scholarships are available to students who have had neither a parent nor sibling pursue or earn a college degree.

“Each time the Coca-Cola First Generation Scholarship program is established at a new college or university, we’re able to help more students fulfill their dreams of pursuing higher education,” said Lori George Billingsley, Vice President, Community Relations for Coca-Cola Refreshments. “We’re thrilled to support Villanova University as it continues to grow the talents and minds of future leaders.”

In order to be considered for a scholarship, a Villanova student must complete a separate application for the Coca-Cola First Generation Scholarship Program. Recipients of these scholarships each will receive $6,250 per year—which is renewable for four years provided the student meets all eligibility requirements—and will have access to an established support structure to assist with adjusting to college life.

Students who receive Coca-Cola First Generation Scholarships remain eligible to receive additional funding from federal, state, private, and University sources. Villanova has budgeted more than $80 million for undergraduate student financial aid for the 2012-2013 academic year.

For the fall 2011 semester, 84 percent of Villanova’s first generation students received financial aid and approximately half of these students were from underrepresented groups.

Coca-Cola has been an exclusive vendor of Villanova since 2008 and has served as a lead sponsor for the University’s St. Thomas of Villanova Day of Service for three years running.

About The Coca-Cola Foundation: The Coca-Cola Foundation awarded more than $70 million to 263 community organizations around the world in 2011 to support sustainable community initiatives, including water stewardship, community recycling, active, healthy living, and education. For more information about The Coca-Cola Foundation, please go to www.thecoca-colacompany.com/citizenship/foundation_coke.html.

About Villanova University: Since 1842, Villanova University’s Augustinian Catholic intellectual tradition has been the cornerstone of an academic community in which students learn to think critically, act compassionately and succeed while serving others. There are more than 10,000 undergraduate, graduate and law students in the University's five colleges – the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the Villanova School of Business, the College of Engineering, the College of Nursing and the Villanova University School of Law. As students grow intellectually, Villanova prepares them to become ethical leaders who create positive change everywhere life takes them.