Officials: Richter funding decrease simply a rumor
Mehl: only threat is economic downturn
A rumor that Richter funding will significantly decrease next year is, according to the Knox administration, just a rumor.
Dean of the College Lawrence Breitborde and Director for the Vovis Center for Research and Advanced Study,Sandra Mehl agreed that there was no basis for the belief that the Richter scholarship, which is not managed by Knox College but rather an independent trust, would decrease in the upcoming academic year.
“There’s absolutely no basis in fact for that rumor,” Breitborde said. “I have no idea where that would come from.”
Mehl believes that the only way a decrease in funding could be suggested is if there is another major economic downturn similar to the one in 2008.
“I take my responsibility of maintaining a good relationship with the trust very seriously so that we can stay in good standing and continue to look forward to that award,” Mehl said.
She could only offer the recent change in how Richter funds were allocated as a possible reason for the development of the rumor.
“[The Richter trust] wanted us to manage these funds just a little bit differently,” she said.
Although Richter funds have increased since 1996, Breitborde noted that the amount of money Knox receives still varies from year to year, although he is happy that the money has always been a five or six figure sum.
“Because investments change from year to year, how much we get is dependent on how much the fund has earned,” he said.
Sophomore Andrei Papancea has already received Richter funding for his independent study in computer science and had not heard the rumor, but believed no good could come from a decrease.
“That’d be a pity,” Papancea said, “because a lot of students depend on those funds to do all kinds of cool stuff.”
Breitborde hopes that if a significant decrease in funding were to happen, the college would try to shift funds around in order to make up the gap.
“The college recognizes how important this support has been to be able to encourage students to do really great projects,” he said.
Papancea admits that though cuts to his Richter funding would be a “small burden,” it would still be possible for him to carry out his project.
“I would have to cut down on other expenses,” he said. “The thing is my family is paying a lot of money right now for me to be here. I receive financial aid from the college, but it only covers that much of it.”
According to Mehl, only a small number of schools receive Richter money, and she believes that the fund must be recovering well if money actually increased from 2009-10 to 2010-11.
“They are very responsible with their funds,” she said of the Richter trust.
In March 2012, all 30 applicants for Richter scholarships received some sort of aid, and Mehl encourages all students interested in an independent study to apply for this summer and beyond.
“I simply recommend that they know their project is ready to go,” she said.
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