Recommitting To Financial Aid and the BC Experience
The distance separating Rahway, N.J., and Boston College might as well have stretched to the moon.
For Gabby Aquino, both seemed equally out of reach. Aquino, the daughter of Filipino immigrants, was an honors student and two-sport athlete born and raised in suburban New Jersey. She had been accepted to BC and aspired to become a physician but understood her parents couldn’t afford the tuition, no matter how much they scrimped and saved.
“I knew the only hope I had of attending BC was to see what I received for financial aid,” says Aquino. “It was a waiting game for me, for my family.”
The Way Forward
Gabby’s story is the rule, not the exception. Today, seven in 10 BC undergraduates receive some form of financial assistance—and most could not attend without these critical funds.
To date, more than 23,000 members of the BC family have supported this most pressing of Light the World campaign priorities, which remains resolutely tied to the University’s Jesuit, Catholic ideals.
Now many alumni, parents, and friends are choosing to give to need-based financial aid a second time and magnify their impact on students’ lives. Maureen ’89 and Ian Johnson, MS’01, stand among them, having recently doubled their commitment to their endowed financial aid fund.
“Why we give is actually quite simple,” says Maureen Johnson. “I was accepted to 10 schools, and Boston College gave me the best financial aid package. Without that assistance, I would not have attended BC.
“I thank Boston College for helping shape my life, and I want to be sure a BC education is financially possible for future students.”
As co-chair of her 25th reunion committee, Maureen spent much of this spring encouraging her fellow classmates to participate—at any giving level—in the campaign and to consider stretching their gifts if they could.
“Another reason we give,” says Ian Johnson, “is because we were asked to give. We were shown that our support makes a difference.”
Jennifer Mugar Flaherty ’92 and her husband, Peter Flaherty, also know how much financial aid matters on campus. The couple created the Mugar Flaherty Family Scholarship, inspired by a tradition of philanthropy and gratitude set by their respective grandparents.
Their scholarship will help ensure that students in the Lynch School of Education graduate with minimal financial burden before entering the teaching profession.
The couple’s commitment evolved from her connection as a Lynch School graduate and their annual gifts to financial aid. They further recognize how vital that aid is when attending the University’s springtime Scholarship Dinner. “The students who speak at the dinner are not only extremely talented, but also dedicated to their educational experience at Boston College,” says Jennifer Mugar Flaherty. “I can’t think of a better place to invest in others, knowing that as a result of our scholarship, a person will be attending BC each year in perpetuity.”
When Gabby Aquino received the email that revealed her BC financial aid package, she was hesitant to click on it. Her mind raced. “It’s probably not enough,” she thought.
But the news was not what she feared—thanks to her financial aid donors, Joan and James Peck, P’92, ’01, who had created a scholarship in memory of their son Andrew ’01.
“I saw that I was awarded almost a full tuition scholarship, and it was the excitement of my acceptance letter all over again,” says Aquino. “Right then I decided that I was going to Boston College.”
This fall, Gabby will be a junior at the Heights, pursuing her biology major on the premed track. She’ll be returning from Peru, where she participated, along with other BC students, in a medical brigade to assist those in need of care, already doing what she can to improve the lives of others.
“My scholarship is a blessing,” says Aquino. “It has allowed so many possibilities in my life. It is the best thing that’s ever happened to me.”