Sale of University House Generates $160,000 a Year to Create Presidential Niehoff Scholarship Fund

Making good on a recommendation by President Santa J. Ono, the University of Cincinnati has sold its presidential residence and established the Niehoff Presidential Scholarship Endowment (NPSE) to benefit students.

The NPSE, launched with funds generated by the sale of the University House at Edgecliff Point Condominiums in combination with resources redirected from the home’s operating budget, will generate scholarship dollars in an amount equivalent to a $3 million endowment, or approximately $160,000 a year for student financial assistance.

In April, President Santa J. Ono suggested to the university’s Board of Trustees that the residence be put up for sale. Dr. Ono, who has been president since August 2012, has never lived in the condo. His recommendation to sell it came at the same time he informed the board that he would not accept a salary increase or bonus payment for the next two years, and he asked that the board not increase UC’s undergraduate tuition for the 2013-14 academic year.

“College affordability is a top priority for families and students. I want us to think in new ways to do whatever we can to help students achieve their dream of a college education,” says Dr. Ono.

Patti and Buck (Law, 1972) Niehoff, who had donated the Edgecliff Point condominium to UC to provide a presidential residence for fundraising and cultivation, support the idea of selling it to create scholarships. “President Ono's decision not to live in an official university residence and to convert it into scholarships is a very generous act on his part,” said Buck Niehoff.  “It is another example of how he puts students first in everything he does at UC.”

The first awards from the fund will be granted for the 2014-15 academic year. One award each year will be reserved for a graduate student in history, reflecting the Niehoff family’s deep regard for scholarship in history. In the short run, UC will use the proceeds to close financial need gaps for academically meritorious students.

“We appreciate that it is the will and wisdom of the Niehoff family to recommend that the direction of the awards will vary based on the needs of our students and UC’s strategic enrollment plan over time,” said President Ono. 

“We have many academically talented students both in our application pools and currently enrolled who have significant unmet need,” said Caroline Miller, Senior Associate Vice President and Vice Provost for Enrollment Management. “The flexibility of this fund will allow us to help meet that tremendous need.”

The Niehoffs first donated the house to the university for a period of 10 years in 2004, but in 2008, they set aside the 10-year time limit and donated it fully as a gift to UC. It had been used since December 2004 as UC’s presidential residence.

Students need not apply for the awards. They will be selected based on their academic accomplishments across the colleges and their demonstrated need as reported on the financial aid form (FAFSA).  Students should complete the FAFSA process by March 1, 2014, in order to be considered.

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