Darden Scholarships

Darden Scholarships

SIF21 Darden Scholarships

Project Manager: Scott Beardsley, Darden School of Business

The purpose of this project is to provide bridge funding to attract the most qualified students, improve the School’s ranking, and increase student access.

BoV Approved: September 2016

Project Dates: 7/12/2017 – 7/11/2020

Total Funding: $1,000,000

Executive Summary

The Darden School was awarded $1 million to support and improve Darden’s competitive ranking amongst the best business schools, and to attract the most qualified students to the Darden School, close the competitive net tuition gap Darden currently faces against peer schools, and make Darden more financially accessible. Darden operates in a highly competitive environment among a tightly clustered group of the top 10-12 business schools which requires notable scholarship funding resources to improve the ranking of the school by attracting top talent to Darden. Each of the five major business school rankings measures the quality of students and Forbes also measures the return on a student's investment. Darden has made a significant commitment to scholarship funding to successfully compete. Additional scholarship funding was needed for a three-year period to bridge the funding gap until the combination of our fundraising efforts, consisting of endowment draws and current use philanthropic gifts, and revenue-expanding program enhancements through additional students and/or degree programs, could replace the bridge funds.

Current Status: Completed


The final review of this award was conducted by the PAC at their December 2020 meeting, and it was deemed a highly successful award. Eight scholarships were created by this investment, and philanthropy was attained that will permit those scholarships to endure beyond the life of the SIF award. The eight students that were recruited as a result of this award had average GMAT scores that were significantly higher than the rest of their cohort. Furthermore, this award fostered a more highly diverse class, with five of the eight students being female, three international, and one a US minority. The PAC was thoroughly impressed with the project team and the return on investment, and considers it a model that could be implemented in other Schools.