Bentson Scholarship Challenge

Accept a Challenge. Change a life.

Through the Bentson Scholarship Challenge, you can change lives while helping to reverse an alarming national trend: lower rates of admission, retention, and graduation for students with the greatest financial need. 

For a growing number of families, the price of a college education has outpaced what they can afford. Scholarships offered through the Bentson Challenge meet students’ financial needs and follow them throughout their four-year undergraduate journeys.

Each year, the scholarship will cover outstanding costs of attending college, which may include:

  • tuition and fees
  • textbooks
  • housing at any University of Minnesota campus

Your donation of $50,000 or more will be invested in an endowment to make college possible for generations of Pell-eligible undergraduates. While your endowment grows, the Bentson Foundation will make additional funds available immediately to help students from under-resourced backgrounds cover the full cost of college.

How it works

You establish an endowment, and the Bentson Foundation will add incentive funding so you can help more Pell-eligible students sooner with scholarships in your name. 

  • To qualify for the Bentson Challenge, a donor must establish an endowment with a gift or pledge of $50,000 or more paid within four years.
  • For endowment gifts of less than $1 million, the Bentson Challenge will match 30 cents on the dollar.
  • For gifts of $1 million or more, the endowment will be eligible to receive 50 cents on the dollar.

The difference you can make

The scholarships you create through the Bentson Challenge open the doors of possibility for capable students by freeing them from financial burden and student debt.

  • Pell students who receive scholarships of $10,000 or more graduate on time at a rate 30 percent higher than their peers without support. 
  • Students today would have to work 51 hours a week to pay for the full cost of college.

Continuing a legacy

Since 1956, the Bentson Foundation has been a pillar of the region’s philanthropic community. Its legacy at the University of Minnesota began when U alumni Larry and Nancy Bentson established their namesake foundation to benefit promising students and their futures and to preserve the integrity of local arts organizations and public health. 


For more information

Ready to discuss a gift to support promising students? 

Contact us:

More details on the Bentson Challenge

612-624-3333 or 800-775-2187

giving@umn.edu