Recognizing the difficulties and financial needs of higher education students from underprivileged communities, attending college away from their support structure, BTF’s Kamil Buğra Rodoper championed the Alumni Giving-Portal concept for perpetuating the legacy of excellence. The idea is to build a financial support bridge from the Alumni Networks of Turkish universities to the students currently studying in these universities. The goal is to provide scholarships to the first generation college attendees who successfully pursue an undergraduate degree. For this program, BTF is collaborating with Turkish Education Foundation (Türk Eğitim Vakfı – TEV).
Click here to read the program announcement in Turkish.
A. Despite the low tuition and fees of Turkish public universities, unlike their North American counterparts, the living expenses in Turkey have no student discount, especially in the big cities such as Istanbul, Ankara and Izmir. Insufficient on-campus housing forces most of the college students to rent and incur additional off-campus living expenses. Unlike North America, scarcity of part-time jobs available for students and limited scholarship opportunities add on top of challenges that Turkish college students face.
B. According to a study conducted by the Council of Higher Education of the Republic of Turkey, as of 2008, only in US, there are approximately 12,000 Turkish students, of which majority is enrolled in a graduate level program. Furthermore, every year thousands of Turks decide to settle in US or Canada, enabling strong alumni networks in North America for Turkish universities.
The alumni networks of Turkish universities in North America can show their dedication to the next generation students at their alma-mater through a need-based scholarship program.
Each year, thousands of promising college students in Turkey are forced to end their education due to the lack of sufficient funding. An equal number of students struggle in coping with the coursework while living in unhealthy and unpleasant conditions due to limited funds. This problem is particularly striking for first generation college bound students from low income communities attending college away from home. For them, cost of education rises sharply beyond those needed to sustain a student in the public education system.
30% of Turkey’s population lives in rural areas. Less than 5% of Turkish college graduates come from a rural family. This is an indication of urgent need for action in providing equal opportunity in education. Need-Based Scholarships for successful college students is one easy way for the alumni networks to contribute in balancing the equality scale.
With the “Okulumu Unutmadım!*” scholarship program, Bridge to Türkiye Fund (BTF) creates an alumni-giving portal for Turkish alumni networks located in North America. The portal is an opportunity for networks to connect with and give back to their colleges in Turkey in the form of scholarships. For the selection of the students and the distibution of the funds, BTF is collaborating with Turkish Education Foundation (Türk Eğitim Vakfı – TEV) in Istanbul, Turkey. TEV also bears the responsibility of monitoring of the students’ academic status and progress.
HOW DOES IT WORK?
The process is fairly simple and straigth forward:
1. BTF creates a scholarship fund for each alumni network participating in the program
2. BTF transfers the scholarship funds to TEV twice a year
3. TEV selects the students qualified for the scholarship
4. TEV provides the scholarship to the students during the academic year
5. At the end of each academic year, TEV and BTF reports the academic success of each student back to the donor community as described in “How can you help?” section.
You have two great reasons to support “Okulumu Unutmadım!” and give back to your university through BTF:
Reason 1: Your donation to BTF is 100% tax exempt and qualifies for corporate matching due to BTF’s 501(c)3 status.
Reason 2: Your donation reaches to the needy in Turkey through two trustworthy NGOs, Bridge to Türkiye Fund in US and Turkish Education Foundation (Türk Eğitim Vakfı – TEV) in Turkey.
HOW YOU CAN HELP
You have two options:
(A) Sponsor a Student
1. TEV’s annual scholarship for one college student is $1,740.00.
2. For less than $5 a day, you can sponsor one student and give the life-changing gift of college education. Alternatively, you and your college buddies can choose to sponsor a student together and you can start your own small giving circle.
3. If the company you work for has a gift matching program, you can sponsor a student with a contribution of $870.00.
4. The academic status and success of the student whom you sponsored will be provided to you through BTF and TEV.
(B) Contribute to the Fund
1. Instead of sponsoring a student directly, you can contribute to the fund created for your university.
2. Contributions collected under the fund of each school are used for granting additional scholarships for your university and securing the continuity of scholarships for the successful students in the upcoming years.
Do you have a project in mind for giving back to your university? Maybe you should consider renovating that old lab where you spent hours. Or re-equipping the music club where you learned playing your guitar. Check-out BTF’s Donor Directed-Pass through Grants. We are happy to help you in planning and executing your own give-back project, across our philanthropic bridge.
Donate now and support a needy student who now sits in the same auditorium that you sat years back! Please do not forget to include the name of your university and/or alumni network as a note to BTF while making the donation. If you would like more information, please send us your questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.
* “Okulumu Unutmadım!” means “I have not forgotten my school!” in Turkish.