In this Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2018, photo, St. John’s College President Mark Roosevelt talks about trends in the student tuition and the expenses of the colleges in Santa Fe, N. M. The university of applied sciences with campuses in Santa Fe and Annapolis, Md., is the reduction of the annual tuition fee price, add grants for New Mexico residents, and the plans to rely more on philanthropy to the postponement of the academic cost for students. (AP Photo/Morgan Lee)
SANTA FE, N. M. – A private liberal arts college with campuses in New Mexico and Maryland, announced Wednesday a $17,000 reduction in annual tuition fees, the recognition of that steady increase in the pursuit of prestige drove away many qualified students from families of moderate or modest economic means.
Tuition for the coming academic year will drop from more than $52,000 to $35,000 in St. John’s College, which has about 800 students in Santa Fe and Annapolis that a study of the formative texts of Western civilization — from Euclid to Jane Austen — in small class settings with an average of seven students per faculty member. The Santa Fe campus also offers graduate studies in the traditions of China, India and Japan.
College President Mark Roosevelt described the price reduction as well as a recognition that most students don’t pay the full price for tuition, and said the school was determined to be more affordable and accessible through the ” need-based scholarships are underwritten by philanthropic gifts.
“We try to reduce the number of people who deem our priceless sticker price alone,” said Roosevelt, a former Massachusetts state legislator and superintendent of Pittsburgh Public Schools that led to the re-opening of Antioch College in Ohio 2011.
St. John’s College is wrestling with budget deficits, as many non-profit colleges that an increase of the lessons in the ten years since the Great Recession, difficulty in attracting students to center of lower enrollment linked to a good AMERICAN labour market.
Preston Cooper, an educational policy research analyst with the conservative American Enterprise Institute for public policy, the think-tank, said the St. John’s college-announcement is out.
“I’ve never heard of anything quite this size before,” he said. “A lot of schools have said that they are going to freeze classes.”
Roosevelt said that the St. John’s made a “mistake” by taking part in a trend among private AMERICAN colleges of the determination of the tuition increases over the past 20 years considerably exceeds the inflation rate.
“We are to opt-out of prestige pricing, we set our education at a lower point,” he said. “We hope that it opens more channels for people to find out what we really cost.”
The college will offer two $10,000 annual scholarships to New Mexico residents who participate in start in the autumn of 2019 — effectively lowering their maximum tuition to $25,000. Roosevelt said it was “still a lot of money, but we hope that it brings people into the conversation” about attending.
The college estimates the annual academic expenditure to each student at about $60,000 a year, a reflection of the school’s commitment to seminar-style classes with no assistant professors to reduce the cost.
On average, students pay about $18,000 per year towards tuition fees, the rest comes from grants and loans, Roosevelt said. The college provided $6 million in direct student support during the last academic year.
Lower tuition fees, the college hopes to raise $300 million in gifts from alumni and other philanthropists to double the endowment by 2023. On Wednesday announced a $50 million promise of Stags’ Leap winery founder Warren Winiarski and his wife, Barbara, by a family foundation to match donations to the St. John’s. They are alumni.
Roosevelt said the new fundraising campaign is primarily aimed at the financing of educational expenses and will not pay for new buildings or facilities — can pay for some campus maintenance costs. St. John’s has no football stadiums, and track and field athletics run around the intramural activities and excursions by mountain search and rescue team from the Santa Fe campus.
“Neither the campus has a swimming pool,” he said. “Our education is expensive to deliver. Why? Because the around a table with 15 chairs and two teachers. It is an expensive model.”
Annual tuition fees and the cost of the Santa Fe campus for more than $54,000 for the current school year. Room and board range from about $12,000 to as high as $20,000 — pushing the total annual college attendance rates will be higher.
The average student debt for the graduating class in 2018 was $28,219 in St. John’s Annapolis campus and $27,686 for the Santa Fe.
“We believe that we did participate in something that was a mistake, that was an enormous escalation in the purchase price, and we regret it,” Roosevelt said.