In November 2018, Boston University Trustee Richard D. Cohen (CGS’67, Questrom’69) issued a challenge: he would match new or increased gifts to support undergraduate need-based financial aid, dollar for dollar, up to $1 million.

Donors who took the Cohen Challenge helped the University make undergraduate education affordable for all students and their families—regardless of means—and those donors saw their gifts’ impact doubled.

Cohen has steadily supported scholarships for more than a decade, and in 2017 he made a gift that helped BU meet the full need of all Pell-eligible undergraduates—meaning that today, they can complete their BU education without loans. That gift catalyzed a full-fledged University effort to increase aid across the board, including an expanded scholarship assurance program.

Thanks to Cohen’s giving, support from other donors, and investments by the University, since the fall of 2017 BU has provided over $94 million in funding to entering freshmen who are Pell Grant recipients. Nearly one in five US undergraduates at BU is eligible for a Pell Grant, a proportion that places the University among the most generous benefactors in its university peer group.

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