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Close the Gap award program

In 2014, Augustana President Steve Bahls attended a national summiton Expanding College Opportunity. At this summit, presidents from 85 colleges and universities pledged to help more low-income students attend and complete college.

Augustana Trustee Julie K. Hamann ’82 had an idea of how to make an Augustana education more accessible to high-ability, high-financial need students.

She made an initial gift of $800,000 and challenged the college to raise another $1 million to help “close the gap” in the financial aid package of high-need, high-caliber students who just needed a little additional help to attend Augustana.


Hamann was moved to contribute such a generous sum because she believed a program like this would open the door for students who would enjoy all that Augustana has to offer and succeed in the same challenging and caring environment she enjoyed as a student. She and all those who pledged funds to this program were right — and our campus community continues to welcome many wonderful, bright students because of their kindness and commitment.

Close the Gap Awards are four-year financial awards for high-ability, low-income students who have need that goes beyond the assistance available through traditional scholarships, grants and loans. This award program allows Augustana to do what it has always done best — recognize and grow a student’s potential, regardless of background or means.

A Close the Gap award of $2,500 a year is often all it takes to make Augustana affordable for a great student who  might never have considered a high-quality education such as Augustana offers to be within reach.

$4,160,207 has been committed by donors to Close the Gap since 2015.

• In four years, 202 individuals, families, foundations or corporations have given Close the Gap assistance.

• In May 2018, 90 students who received Close the Gap awards to attend Augustana (the first group of seniors) will graduate.

“I’m thrilled to have this opportunity to help. It’s a way we can raise awareness and raise money to allow Augustana to do what it does best. Attending Augie is a life-changing experience. The college also will be enriched by having these best and brightest students on campus.”

Julie K. Hamman ’82

“I’m stunned at how much the people at Augie care.”

Adam Gronewold ’19, a Close the Gap Award recipient who received a national physics scholarship while attending Augustana