VESTAL, NY (WIVT/WBGH) – More deserving students will be able to go to Binghamton University thanks to the largest scholarship gift in the school’s history.

The announcement came during President Harvey Stenger’s annual State of the University speech.

An anonymous family has given 2 endowments worth $37.5 million.

One will be devoted to undergraduates in any of the university’s colleges, and the other for Graduate Students of the Arts.

The returns on those investments will allow BU to provide 25 incoming freshmen with a full scholarship, growing to 100 over 4 years.

There will be 15 scholarships for the Graduate Students of the Arts.

Stenger says these donations help BU compete with other top-tier private and public universities that have larger financial aid and scholarship endowments.

“This is a happy day for Binghamton University. When you think about those numbers and, as you know, endowments last forever, these scholarships will be given every year forever, thousands of students will have the opportunity to go to Binghamton without having to worry about the cost of attendance.”

Stenger also took questions about the ongoing discussions surrounding collaboration between BU and SUNY Broome.

Broome has suffered a 37% loss in enrollment since before the pandemic and a corresponding 3 million dollar budget shortfall.

Stenger thinks BU can gradually help SUNY Broome attract the 600 more full-time students it needs to cover the deficit.

The main strategy is to expand the existing “Binghamton Advantage” program in which 150 students currently live on the BU campus, but take their first year courses at Broome.

Stenger says that number could increase to 200 next year, plus include another 100 students who either would live in the SUNY Broome dorm or at home for the first year with guaranteed admission to BU in the second year, provided they maintain a 3.0 GPA.

Stenger ruled out a full merger or shared services.

“We’re both running pretty tight on employees. We’re both down on employees because it’s hard to hire people still. We still have a very tight labor market. We probably have over 100 positions open right now where we’re trying to find people, especially in the areas where shared services would be the most likely, like IT. We’re down significantly there. So, we’re really not in the right position now to do shared services yet.”

Stenger says this is the most upbeat State of the University speech he’s given, with positive news related to enrollment, applications, faculty awards, students success and campus construction and renewal.