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Bears Give Back to Provide Access to a UNC Education

Office of Alumni RelationsOffice of Alumni Relations
March 08, 2021

As a public university, some of UNC’s funding comes from the state, but much of the support that provides scholarships for students, endowments for faculty positions and funding for capital projects comes from generous donors who believe in UNC’s vision of a students-first university.

This spring, on April 14, “Bears Give Back” offers the UNC community near and far an opportunity to make a difference by giving to funds they support and believe in – from student scholarships to specific programs and initiatives.

The one day virtual event is devoted to opportunities for supporting students, faculty and funds that range from scholarships for first-generation students to helping hopeful students just beginning to explore college through the “Support a Future Bear” fund.

 “Support a Future Bear” covers the cost of applying to UNC for students interest in UNC’s undergraduate programs  – and it’s a great way to encourage students to apply to UNC and to introduce them to UNC’s caring culture.

Last year during the week-long giving initiative “Bearnanza,” Support a Future Bear raised  enough funds to cover the cost of about 42 new student applications. As enrollment falls at universities nationwide, UNC’s Admissions team works hard to reach students with free application opportunities so that a UNC education is accessible. Free App Days, made possible in part by Support a Future Bear, have brought in 1,300 undergraduate applications this year alone, from all around the world (not including the applications submitted during the Colorado-wide Free App Day in the fall, exclusive to Colorado residents).

Scholarship support also makes a critical difference by opening doors to UNC students. With 43% of UNC’s students being the first in their families to go to college, the First-Generation Scholarship Fund offers support and encouragement that can help make a college degree a reality. Whether it’s through a gift of $5 or $500, scholarship support helps students reach their goals and dreams, as the First Generation Scholarship Fund has helped these students:

Kimberly Cook (senior) - Biochemistry

“College has been a long and challenging path considering I am a stay-at-home mother of three. I care for two children of my own in addition to my niece. My husband works tirelessly to ensure I can continue my college education, but scholarships like the UNC First-Generation Scholarship make my education possible.” 

Evander Espinoza (sophomore) - Physics with a concentration in Astronomy

“I come from a rural town in Colorado, and it was an accomplishment to be the first-generation in my family to attend college. My time at UNC has broadened my educational and social experiences and has helped me to make new connections with both students and professors. This scholarship has helped alleviate some of the financial burden but has also served as a boost to my confidence in continuing my educational journey at UNC.”

Kathryn Fritts, First-year, Biological Sciences

“My dream career has always been to become a great teacher; UNC was the perfect place for me to pursue my dream. I hope to inspire children to follow their dreams and professional goals, just as my teachers have done for me. The UNC First-Generation Student Scholarship means so much to me, it will help me to achieve my dreams.” -

To join your fellow Bears and friends of UNC for Bears Give Back, mark your calendar for April 14, and learn more about how you can get involved:  unco.edu/bears-give-back