Higher Education

Worcester County Institute of Industrial Science
(WPI) c. 1869. Courtesty of WPI Archives.

Application Guidelines

General Eligibility
The Trust supports independent colleges and universities with full-time traditional undergraduate enrollments of at least 1,000 students (headcount) and with a total undergraduate and graduate student population (full-time equivalents) of 5,000 or fewer in the six New England states, New York, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey, plus a few grandfathered institutions inside and outside the nine-state region. A full-time student as defined by the Alden Trust is a student who is primarily baccalaureate degree seeking, takes the preponderance of his or her courses at the school’s primary campus, and is enrolled for the number of hours or courses the school considers to be full-time attendance.
The Trustees seek to support institutions that demonstrate a combination of educational excellence, exciting and forward looking programming, and efficient and effective administration. They look for projects that contribute significantly to the intellectual growth of students, enhance an institution’s mission, and lead to solid preparation for lifelong learning and post college careers.

Grant Focus
The Trustees focus their grantmaking on capital needs. In recent years, the Trust has supported projects that directly impact the quality of the delivery of the school’s undergraduate, academic offerings across its academic disciplines, including the liberal arts and sciences, the fine and performing arts, technology, and professional programs. This has included grants to upgrade or construct classrooms, libraries, laboratories, auditoriums, learning centers, and new and/or renovated academic buildings as well as the purchase of equipment and furnishings for any of these academic settings. The Trustees primarily make outright grants but occasionally will issue challenge grants with the goal of helping an institution generate increased and broader philanthropic support from its constituencies.

Intervals between Applications
Trust policy is not to consider grant requests more frequently than three years from the date of the last grant or one year from the date of the last payment, whichever is later. An institution whose proposal has been rejected is normally eligible to apply again after one year.

Schedule of Distribution Meetings
The Trustees consider proposals at four distribution meetings a year. Complete, hard copy proposals for the March, June, September, or December meetings must be received by the fifteenth of the month prior to the meeting (e.g., February 15 for the March meeting). Note: The Trust does not accept electronic proposals.

Proposal Requirements
  1. A summarizing cover letter, which includes the requested amount, signed by the president of the institution. It is expected that the project for which funding is requested is among the institution’s highest priorities.
  2. The name, telephone number, and email address of a contact person
  3. Confirmation that the institution currently has both a full-time undergraduate enrollment (headcount) of at least 1,000 students and total undergraduate and graduate populations (full-time equivalents) of 5,000 or fewer
  4. The proposal, in brief narrative form, should help the Trustees understand the purposes to be achieved through the grant, and the reasons why the proposing institution is capable of achieving those purposes. In addition, the Trustees want to know how the grant will positively impact the students and/or faculty and help the institution to fulfill its mission. Include a project revenue and expense budget and implementation timetable.
  5. Fundraising goals, success-to-date for the project, and specific plans for raising the remaining funds needed
  6. The institution's mission statement
  7. Summary of the school’s current strategic priorities (up to five)
  8. Facts or evidence to support your school's case that lifetime outcomes--economic and non-economic--warrant attending your institution instead of public or private peer institutions.

Required institutional information
Three-Year Trends in Chart Form
Total full-time undergraduate enrollment (Fall of the most recent 3 years, domestic and international students reported separately), plus the following undergraduate student body and other institutional data:

  • Gender mix
  • Minority representation
  • Percentage of First Generation students
  • Percentage of Pell-eligible students
  • Average family income
  • Average student debt upon graduation
  • Percentage on financial aid
  • Percentage on need-based financial aid
  • Percentage on merit-based financial aid
  • Measures of achievement for incoming students: Given the trend towards optional reporting of SAT and ACT scores, please include the mean or median score for those incoming students who provide them in each of the required three years, and also the percentage of the incoming students who elect to provide such scores if they are not required.
  • Application/admit/matriculation numbers
  • Retention from first to second year
  • Persistence to degree (4- and 6-year graduation rates)
  • Tuition-room-board charges
  • Endowment amount, investment return, and annual draw policies and practices
  • The total amounts raised in annual and capital campaigns (each reported separately) from all sources in a given year.
  • The percentage of trustees that make a gift to both annual and capital efforts, or to one or the other. (Expected total would be 100%)
  • Participation rate of alumni giving to annual fund each year


  • Summaries of the two most recent fiscal year operating budgets and the next fiscal year board-approved operating budget, if available (with explanation, if in deficit)
  • Copies of the audited financial statements from the two most recently completed fiscal years
  • List of Trustees with affiliations
  • Evidence of appropriate tax-exempt status
  • Optional: Such other information that the applicant believes may give the Trustees a better understanding of the institution, its distinctive value, and its specific proposal

Applicants should consult the Trust’s Frequently Asked Questions page and are welcome to contact the Trust by telephone, email, or make a visit prior to submitting an application. A first-time applicant is encouraged to contact the Trust prior to doing so. It is often helpful to explore in advance the nature of the project, the need or opportunity that drives it, and the size of an intended request. The Trustees have found that such discussion generally results in the submission of a more effective proposal or forestalls a formal proposal for which there is little or no likelihood of success.

A single copy of the application and attachments is sufficient and should be submitted by mail to:

George I. Alden Trust
100 Front Street, 5th Floor
Worcester, Massachusetts 01608

Phone: (508) 459-8005   |   Fax : (508) 459-8305   |   Email: trustees@aldentrust.org