A college campus, particularly that of a private school, can often feel like a world apart. After all, students spend many hours living, studying, playing, and working in a handful of buildings connected by greenspaces, seemingly cloistered from the city around them. Students, faculty, and staff tend to abide by a separate code of rules and traditions. Even the term “academia” sounds to some like the name of a foreign land.
But the reality, of course, is that any university or college is an integral part of its surroundings. Not only are campus borders porous, with faculty and many students residing, eating, and shopping offsite, but the institution itself is also a vital hub in the larger community, dependent on and responsible for the success of their off-campus neighbors. Understanding that connection, Fordham University, a Jesuit Catholic university in the heart of New York City, is reaching out to help its community. Through its unique Good Neighbor Initiative, the Fordham School of Professional and Continuing Students (PCS) is offering adult learners in nearby neighborhoods an automatic 30% reduction in undergraduate tuition fees. In New York City, as in many other communities, many people are struggling. In the Bronx, lower Westchester County, and northern Manhattan, the recent economic turbulence has left blue-collar and low-level white-collar workers alike unemployed, underemployed, and straining to keep themselves and their families afloat. Like almost all businesses, colleges and universities have felt the squeeze, pressured to hold or even raise tuition to
THROUGH ITS UNIQUE GOOD NEIGHBOR INITIATIVE, THE FORDHAM SCHOOL OF PROFESSIONAL AND CONTINUING STUDENTS (PCS) IS OFFERING ADULT LEARNERS IN NEARBY NEIGHBORHOODS AN AUTOMATIC 30% REDUCTION IN UNDERGRADUATE TUITION FEES.”
improve their bottom line. This has left students, especially adult learners looking to improve their prospects with continued certifications and degrees, essentially priced out of higher education.
This has caused many adults looking to further their education to turn to for-profit colleges. But studies have shown that private, for-profit universities are coming up short for poorer students (i.e., those who receive significant amounts of financial aid). One recent report by Third Way showed that only one in four private, for-profit schools return in salary, what their low-income students paid in tuition within 10 years of graduation. Only 69% of those institutions pay off at 25 years—and 63% of these schools never result in enough wages for the graduate to recoup the cost of their education. Meanwhile, those same studies show that private, nonprofit universities return their poor students’ investment in a decade or less. And Fordham, an independent, not-for-profit institution, is going a step further with the Good Neighbor Initiative. The program provides an automatic 30% reduction in tuition for undergraduate degree-seeking students enrolled in the School of Professional and Continuing Studies at Fordham’s Rose Hill campus, as long as they live within one of the campus’s “neighbor” zip codes, mainly focused in the Bronx, lower Westchester County, and northern Manhattan (see here for a complete list of zip codes).
ONLY ONE IN FOUR PRIVATE, FOR-PROFIT SCHOOLS RETURN IN SALARY, WHAT THEIR LOW-INCOME STUDENTS PAID IN TUITION WITHIN 10 YEARS OF GRADUATION. ONLY 69% OF THOSE INSTITUTIONS PAY OFF AT 25 YEARS—AND 63% OF THESE SCHOOLS NEVER RESULT IN ENOUGH WAGES FOR THE GRADUATE TO RECOUP THE COST OF THEIR EDUCATION.”
SOURCE: THIRD WAY
Furthermore, the reduction doesn’t impact the student’s eligibility for other financial aid, such as merit aid, Pell grants, support from the New York State Tuition Assistance Program, or institutional aid, which already included members of NYPD, FDNY, NYC Ballet Dancers, and dependents of Fordham staff members. Studies administered by the federal government and the Levy Institute have suggested that the quicker a student is free of debt, the sooner they have disposable income to spend on other things, stimulating the local economy. Economic benefits of lower tuition include higher enrollment and higher completion rates, especially among lower-income students who might not otherwise be able to afford to see their program through to graduation. “We hope this initiative will make earning a degree from Fordham a possibility for some of our neighbors,” said Anthony Davidson, PhD, Dean of Fordham’s School of Professional and Continuing Studies. “Many of these students will also be among the first in their family to attend and graduate from college, making it more likely that their own children will do the same. And by focusing this effort on students in Fordham’s neighborhood, the university is trying to provide this short-term and long-term economic boost where it will count the most and give back to the community that has so long supported the institution.” If you are interested, Fordham is hosting an Express Admission Day on August 20. Applicants can get an admissions decision on the spot for the Fall semester. To register, click here or for more information, contact Fordham at firstname.lastname@example.org or 718-817-2600.