SMWC’s Tuition Promise bucks the college tuition hike trend for the second year

September 6th, 2012 | SMWC

students studying
With Tuition Promise, SMWC students
can focus on classes, not cost.

Driving into Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College (SMWC) for the first time, the Class of 2016 will have plenty to feel anxious about – new roommates, tougher coursework and making friends. One thing they’re not fretting over? Tuition.

“This is the second year of our Tuition Promise,” SMWC President Dottie King, Ph.D., said. “We’re providing students and their families with much needed financial stability in these difficult economic times.”

What exactly does Tuition Promise mean? Established a year ago, SMWC’s Tuition Promise is a way for students and families to focus on the quality of their education, not the cost. It means that a steep tuition hike, like the University of Notre Dame’s 3.8 or Purdue University’s 3.5 percent tuition increases, won’t alarm SMWC students in the middle of their education. Tuition Promise gives these students and their families an invaluable piece of mind – for four years no surprises will show up on their bills.  

“The tuition promise is just one of many helpful factors the College offers,” said sophomore Lacey Henson, a marketing major from Terre Haute, Ind. “The financial burden of college is stressful to an incoming student, but SMWC helps alleviate some of those fears.”

In the vast universe of scholarships, students can earn aid for interests ranging from athletics to visual arts. Students also can receive federal and state grants by meeting certain requirements. At SMWC, about 95 percent of students receive some form of these awards. While this financial support is an important factor for choosing a college; it isn’t the only one.

“I chose The Woods because I felt so welcomed from the moment I stepped onto the beautiful campus,” Henson said. “I love the small class sizes and that my professors know me and genuinely want to help me succeed.”

SMWC’s high-quality liberal arts education emerges as remarkably affordable with the College’s Tuition Promise. “Public universities may seem more affordable on the surface,” King said, “but students at public institutions are less likely to graduate in four years than those at a private college. If you calculate the lost wages from delayed employment along with the cost of extra years of attendance, you have a much more accurate financial portrait. Overall, a private education, a Woods education, is a better financial decision.”

For the past five years, public universities have increased tuition at about twice the rate of private colleges, according to the report, “Trends in College Pricing 2011.” Indiana University’s 5.4 percent hike over the past two years doesn’t include other additions, such as repair and maintenance fee increases that top $400. IU nonresident students will see tuition increases soaring over 6 percent.

"No incoming college student anticipates a drastic change in their family’s financial situation,” Henson said. “So, it is very securing to know our tuition fees at SMWC will not increase." 

Most students are focused on the acceptance letter and worry about finances later. Once they have a plan in place, many aren’t prepared for these unexpected increases in the middle of their college careers. These tuition hikes become game changers for some, shifting their focus from academics to funding.

“Everywhere we look, prices are drastically increasing, whether it is the price of gas, housing and food,” said Woods alumna Jennifer LaCivita, from Chicago, Ill., the parent of a current SMWC sophomore in the first group to enroll under the Tuition Promise. “It is nice to know that at least one thing in life is not getting more expensive. Tuition Promise surely has helped me in regards to financial planning.”

From applying to admittance, the college process is daunting for students and parents. Private or public, the price tag is always a source of sticker shock. At SMWC, the shock is reduced by the security of knowing the cost will stay the same for four years.

“It makes a positive difference knowing that the College is doing all it can to help students and their parents,” LaCivita said. “SMWC is such a beautiful place filled with fabulous people who truly care. The Tuition Promise is yet another way to manifest all the good that SMWC provides.”

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