PharmDawg Student Debt Lower Than National Average

Thanks to Scholarship Donations

The College of Pharmacy has access to approximately 110 scholarship funds that support students. For the 2021-22 academic year, an all-time high of $360,000 of scholarship funding was awarded to deserving pharmacy students.

On a national scale, this funding would not be nearly enough to satisfy the cost of a quality pharmacy education. According to the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy, the average student loan debt in the U.S. for the Class of 2020 was almost $180,000. With that level of debt, students would owe more than $2,000 each month for a standard, 10-year federal repayment plan.

Fortunately, PharmDawg students are not graduating with quite that residual expense.  Thanks to the generosity of alumni and donors, the UGA College of Pharmacy Class of 2020 averaged slightly less than $120,000 in loan debt, $60,000 lower than the country’s average. Multiply that number by the total number of students, and the impact scholarships have on the College is obvious.

This year, the College of Pharmacy was able to provide support to 138 current students. Another 46 scholarships were awarded to incoming students.

Providing scholarships opportunities that reduce the debt burden of our students is our number one priority,” said Lee Snelling, Senior Director of Development & Alumni Relations. “We pride ourselves in providing excellent educational and research opportunities for all of our students, in each of our programs. We aspire to do more for our students and the communities they will impact, in Georgia and beyond.

The variety of scholarships offered span the spectrum. Each scholarship has a designated focus, including independent and community pharmacy, health-system, psychiatric, industry, and long-term care. There are further offerings that are based on geographic origin, underrepresented groups, and leadership attributes. All of these are either merit or need-based. 

“We have a goal to have a menu of scholarships that all students will qualify for,” said Snelling. “The burden of tuition debt is specifically included in our College’s strategic plan, and we have a set of objectives to address this issue for both in-state and out-of-state students, while increasing financial support opportunities. We never want a student to be unable to attend our College due to financial reasons.”

Ransom Jones, a senior B.S./M.S. Double-Dawg Pharmaceutical Sciences student from Suwanee, received the Richard A. Bryan Scholarship this year.  Jones remarked, “The Richard Bryan scholarship has acknowledged my academic accomplishments and has rewarded my hard work spent on research. It has allowed me to worry less about money, which has indirectly given me more time to focus on applying my learned knowledge and developing novel drugs.”

Each scholarship recipient reaches out to donors, as a show of thanks and a way to create meaningful connections between grateful students and generous donors. Madeline Shepherd, a P4 from Appling and the current recipient of the Albert Jowdy Scholarship, shared her sentiment with Jeff Jowdy, the son of the late Professor Emeritus Albert W. Jowdy. “I hope to honor your father’s memory by continuing to strive for success in my academic and professional endeavors and by treating my patients with compassion and respect.” 

The understanding these students already possess regarding the impact they can have as pharmacists and scientists is truly impressive. Dani Warren, a P2 student from Abbeville and the recipient of the Regina Baird GPhA Scholarship, stated, “Small towns like mine have limited access to healthcare, and my goal is to bridge the divide between patients and their access to quality medical services. Receiving this scholarship puts me one step closer to achieving that goal.” 

“The College is fortunate to have a generous group of alumni and friends,” added Snelling.  “Students have lighter debt burdens, due to this support, which then allows them to focus on their educational endeavors. Many of our alumni remember receiving scholarships themselves. There is room and need for even more philanthropic gifts.  The support, regardless of the amount, makes an impact that will not be forgotten.” 

There are numerous opportunities to support the College of Pharmacy through charitable gifts. These include annual gifts, endowing student scholarships and faculty positions, corporate support, matching gifts, and planned giving. Learn more about how to make a difference in the life of a student.