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Mar 19, 2014 08:54 AM EDT

Florida Couple Donates $2 million for UA Scholarship Program


Hugh Culverhouse Jr. and his wife Eliza have made a gift of $2 million for a scholarship program at the University of Alabama. The Eliza and Hugh F. Culverhouse Jr. Student Assistance Scholarship is aimed at lowering loan amount for students required to attend school.

"I know a lot of parents' only options - especially after this recession - are student loans for their kids," Culverhouse, an attorney and real estate developer in Florida, said in a statement. "If you can't give fifty thousand dollars, lower it," Culverhouse said. "Maybe you can give five hundred dollars.  There is nothing too small. Every dollar helps."

The Florida couple donated $1 million recently with additional $1 million being pledged last August. Six students at Alabama's Culverhouse College of Commerce were selected as Culverhouse Scholars, last fall.

Jennifer Park, a UA senior accounting major, was one of the Culverhouse Scholars. Park said that the scholarship helped to her to undertake an optional internship to gain work experience.

"I had three (part-time) jobs, at the same time while I was a full-time student," Park said. "I went down to two jobs. I could definitely focus a lot more on school, which is so nice."

According to the office of Institutional Research and Assessment, more than 40 percent of 2012 UA students graduated with a debt, reports.

Culverhouse encourages other philanthropists to donate money to scholarship funds besides funding for building projects and endowed professors.

"Nothing has felt as good as this. Any dollar you can give, you can have that same feeling," Culverhouse said. "It doesn't have to be a certain amount to generate the feeling. If you put a hundred bucks toward a scholarship, that's one hundred dollars toward a kid who doesn't have to take out a loan for that amount."

Culverhouse, a former federal prosecutor, and his wife chose UA for their donation because both his parents attended the school and his father was a major benefactor to Alabama. The UA business college is named after his late father, Hugh Culverhouse Sr.

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