Competition for highly qualified students is at an all-time high, and WPI is at a competitive disadvantage because the university is not able to provide adequate financial assistance to all of our students who need it. Today, 90 percent of our students qualify for some form of financial assistance. This makes scholarships and financial aid packages essential to ensuring a diverse cohort of talented students from every background and tradition. Likewise, fellowships, awards, and stipends will help attract outstanding graduate students who are critical to our research mission and who enrich the educational environment immeasurably. Moreover, if we supplement the cost of tuition and fees, we will reduce the burden on families during this economically challenging time, and our students will graduate with less debt, making it easier for them to take full advantage of their professional opportunities.
One of the most valuable components of the WPI undergraduate and graduate experience is our project-based approach to learning. Undergraduate students working on their junior year Interactive Qualifying Project (IQP) can choose to solve real-world problems in one of 26 centers around the world—an experience that transforms the students and the communities they serve. Today, 60 percent of students who decline an off-campus IQP identify cost as the No. 1 reason.
Enriching Faculty and Academic Programs
Our faculty members, along with undergraduate and graduate students, are pursuing research that will make an impact on countless lives. Neuroprosthetics, energy, fire protection, and technology management are just a few examples of the interdisciplinary challenges we are tackling at WPI that have far reaching consequences.
Talented long-time professors and exciting young faculty members alike choose WPI—and stay at WPI—to conduct groundbreaking research in these areas, advance our innovative curriculum, and inspire our remarkable students. Working directly with bright young minds, seamlessly blending teaching and research, and mentoring tomorrow’s great inventors, entrepreneurs, and innovators is both appealing and fulfilling—as is the opportunity to explore big ideas in the company of other world-class scholars. To reward and retain our exceptional faculty members, attract stellar new faculty members, and create responsive and innovative academic programs requires substantial financial resources.
Building Upon the Home of Discovery and Achievement
Our students need and deserve to be members of a community of outstanding people. The physical environment at a premier institution such as ours, however, is nearly equal in importance. State-of-the-art laboratories, classrooms, and other learning spaces must reflect the caliber of our students and faculty as well as the complexities of the problems they are working to solve. Great facilities, both academic and co-curricular, are key to fulfilling the intent of both the WPI Academic Plan and our noble institutional mission.
Expanding the Capacity to Meet Critical Immediate Needs
The unrestricted gifts that come to WPI through the Annual Fund help us advance the WPI Academic Plan; contributions of all sizes endorse both our leadership and our mission and help us be simultaneously strategic and nimble. Moreover, during uncertain economic times, the Annual Fund provides real-time dollars that allow us to better serve students and to be flexible in our decision making. By giving us the resources to invest in immediate strategic initiatives—providing seed money for unexpected, worthwhile student initiatives, for example—annual gifts make a tremendous difference. Furthermore, when alumni participate in the Annual Fund—with gifts of any size—they signal to outside funding organizations that WPI is strong and worthy of their investment.