CORRECTION: Due to a reporting error, this story mischaracterized Izaak Earnhardt. His quote “We’ve felt the effects of the recession” reflected the way he sees how the foundation assesses some student proposals. Funding for gap years and stop-out years were cut due to administrative reasons, not economic ones like the story implied. Although these changes affected the timing of his plans, Earnhardt is still taking time off, which he said is for personal reasons.
Sophomore Izaak Earnhardt always knew he wanted to take a gap year during college.
As a Morehead-Cain scholar, Earnhardt expected to have his travel fully funded by the Morehead-Cain Foundation. But his plans changed when he learned the foundation could no longer afford his year of exploration.
“I can definitely say we’ve felt the effects of the recession,” he said.
Facing increased tuition and a turbulent economy, the foundation, which gives out tens of thousands of dollars to more than 200 UNC students each year, had a difficult decision to make.
It could either scale back on the money it provided students or decrease the size of incoming classes of scholars.
Ultimately, the program opted to decrease class size. In 2010, the foundation accepted 64 students. Last year, it only accepted 48.
“Our business model has essentially flipped,” said Chuck Lovelace, executive director of the Morehead-Cain Foundation.
“We went 50 years without doing serious fundraising because inflation was low and income was high.