At the start of the new academic and liturgical year, 1 September, Ukrainian Catholic University inducted its first-year bachelor’s students and officially awarded scholarships. Friends, parents, and UCU benefactors came to celebrate with the students.

First-year UCU students sitting and listening.

First-year UCU students

This year, 247 benefactors from Ukraine, the USA, and Canada made scholarship donations to Ukrainian Catholic University. With these funds, 385 scholarships were provided, fully or partially covering expenses for tuition and also lodging at the Collegium (as part of the formational program). Ten UCU students received scholarships thanks to monthly donations from the DoNation program; more than 400 benefactors take part in this program.

In 2023, UCU received into its community 460 first-year students. These included 10% percent of Ukraine’s best high school graduates, who received perfect scores (200 points) in all the subjects of the National Standardized Testing.

UCU Bachelor's students in 2023. 460 first-year students; 95.8% of capacity filled; Average score of entrants on standardized national test — 179.3/200; 10% of the best high school graduates according to test scores became UCU students. 31% of graaduates come from outside Lviv, Ternopil, and Ivano-Frankivsk regions. 53% of graduates are receiving full or partial scholarships.

More than 2 million US dollars was given to students in scholarship support for the 2023-2024 academic year. This will support 931 students of bachelor’s and master’s programs.

The model of financial support for talented UCU students who are unable to pay for their studies is based on scholarships given by the university, which can cover from 25% to 100% of the cost of education, depending on the student’s need.

Natalka Klymovska, UCU’s Vice-Rector for Development and Communications, said that the actual cost of educating one student is $4,200 per year: “The average cost of education in bachelor’s programs is 110 000 hryvnias, or approximately $3,000. That is, the education of each UCU student is helped financially by our benefactors. They cover the difference between the actual cost and the requested tuition cost. We are very grateful to parents who pay tuition, because this accounts for 41% of the profit in our university’s operating budget. We also thank our benefactors, who are prepared to invest in Ukraine’s future.”

Natalka Klymovska standing and speaking in front of the assembly.

Students and their parents share their impressions of the first day at the university, and also explained why they chose UCU.

Mariya Chichak, a first-year bachelor’s student in the Ethics-Politics-Economics program: “For me, UCU is not only education and the academic component, but also student organizations, various clubs, and incredible professors, about whom I’ve heard much. This is what influenced my choice the most. I also very much wanted to live in the Collegium, to meet new people, to interact and immerse myself in the spirit of the community. UCU’s values impress me, its spiritual component, our walks to the church, our prayers together.”

Fr. Andriy, father of a first-year bachelor’s student in the Philology program: “My daughter dreamed of studying at UCU, because her older brothers studied here. Visiting them, she fell in love with this educational institution, the campus, and the contact between professors and students. The young person develops here, and personalities are formed.”

Mariya Kuzmyn, mother of a first-year bachelor’s student in the Social Work program: “UCU was my child’s conscious choice. I only prayed that God would lead him in the right direction. When my son said that he was choosing social work, I understood it would be difficult. But this was the call of his heart. After the war, Ukraine will need such specialists, and my son understands that.”

Edvard Student, a first-year bachelor’s student in the Computer Sciences program: “I thought long about which university I should enter. For me, quality of education was important. That’s why I chose UCU. There’s a community here. And a person needs not only basic knowledge but good connections, people who will help in a difficult situation.”

UCU students sitting outside on the grass on campus.

Fr. Ivan Rymar, Rector of Patriarch Josyf Slipyj Major Seminary, father of a first-year bachelor’s student in the Philology program: “First of all, what impresses me at UCU is that this is a community which is full of love, mutual support, and courtesy. Why is this so? Because Jesus is present here. I thank UCU’s benefactors for dependable support of young people who want to fulfill their dreams but, because of financial limitations, cannot pay for their education. God always sends good people. You are those merciful Samaritans who find the funds and provide them for those who want to realize their dreams.”

Anastasiya Bura, a fourth-year student of Law, with a DoNation scholarship: “For me, the priority area of study was Law, and I was unbelievably fortunate that, in the year that I entered UCU, they started admissions for the Law School. I was only 15 at the time, and for two years already only my grandmother had taken care of me. So, unfortunately, my desire to study at the UCU Law School did not correspond with my financial possibilities. I planned to submit documents to the state university. Imagine my joy and my bewilderment when a day later I received a call from the UCU admissions committee: They informed me that I had received a scholarship for the first year of study. I again want to express gratitude, on my behalf and for my scholar-colleagues, for the DoNation project and all UCU’s benefactors. We have received a great sign of trust and we will justify it.”

UCU benefactors explain why they decided to support the university in wartime.

Awarding scholarships to UCU students with a certificate and a handshake.

Awarding scholarships to UCU students

Roman Yatskovskyy, member of the Board of Directors of Selfreliance Federal Credit Union: “In a time of such critical trials, we understand that UCU is forming the elite of Ukrainian society. This is our future. And during the war, and after its end, we need an appropriate personnel base to head Ukraine’s post-war rebuilding. The world is moving forward. We cannot continue the principles prevalent before the war. UCU is forming people with a different worldview.”

Iryna Ivanchyk, founder of the Believe in Yourself charitable foundation and UCU senator, wrote on her Facebook page: “I recall a meeting with His Beatitude Lubomyr Husar. I was impressed at his response to the question of what he wanted; His Beatitude said: “To be a human being.” This is worth striving for, and this will be achieved, in particular, thanks to your university, which not only imparts knowledge but also teaches how to be an integrated person with values, taking these into account when choosing a path in life and making decisions.”

Olena Boyko, UCU benefactor from the USA: “I have great pleasure when my scholarship students finish their studies and face their future. I am convinced that it is possible to support soldiers and education. And, for Americans, what is 4.5 thousand dollars a year for education? That’s a joke. People in America spend more at McDonald’s. I live very frugally; I often wear used clothes. Better to buy a drone or a car for our soldiers with the money saved and, at the same time, I can also support UCU and talented youth.”

UCU Rector Taras Dobko thanked the university’s benefactors who assembled to support students: “We thank those who have entrusted their children to us, and those who support these children and families who cannot pay for their studies. We thank you for opening UCU to others. You are with us in joy and also in sadness. Let us build our Ukrainian Catholic University together.”