Sensitive to the economic challenges facing working families and the rapidly escalating cost of higher education, for the second year in a row, Central College has announced its smallest price rate increase in more than 40 years.
Total price for tuition, room and board will be just 3.5 percent higher in 2014-15, down from 3.95 a year ago. Tuition for 2014-15 will be $32,124, with an additional $4,892 for room and $5,088 for a 20-meal board plan.
To help meet that expense, the college is committed to affordability and offers a strong financial aid program. More than 99 percent of students receive financial aid from Central College and via scholarships supported by generous alumni and donors. Aid packages distributed each spring may include scholarships, gift assistance, work study and student loans. About 93 percent of Central students who graduate do so within four years, further increasing the efficiency of their investments. And, 96 percent of Central students are either employed in a field of their choice, enrolled in graduate or professional school or completing a year of service within a year of graduation. Central’s low 3.6 percent two-year cohort default rate, as reported by the national student loan data system, is well-below the national average of 10 percent reported in fiscal year 2011.
“Central College is committed to making higher education affordable without compromising the strength of our academics or the experiences that benefit our students,” said Mark Putnam, president. “For the second year in a row, our board of trustees has invested in the future of Central College and our students – the young leaders of tomorrow’s world. As a campus community we have rallied together in the past few years to place every resource at our disposal to its highest and best use. We believe in our students and in developing meaningful relationships with students, faculty and families that will last over time.”
Putnam noted that investing in a Central education yields more than a degree. Seventy-six percent of Central students complete an internship or pre-professional experience, further gaining an advantage for their eventual careers. Nearly 50 percent participate in the college’s own study abroad programs, compared to 14 percent of college students nationally who study in a foreign country. Factoring in all opportunities abroad, including academic travel, service and mission trips, and faculty-led experiences, nearly 60 percent of students can claim a life-changing international experience in their four years at Central College. Central students also immerse themselves in more than 80 campus organizations and activities.
The Central experience lands graduates in some of the most well-known and highly regarded graduate programs and corporations around the world. The list of top employers with Central graduates making a difference includes places like Principal Financial, Pella Corporation, Vermeer Corporation, Kemin Industries, Hormel Foods, ING, Eli Lilly and Company, IBM, John Deere, Wells Fargo, Rockwell Collins, Cargill, Pioneer Hybrid, FDIC, and school districts, law firms and medical and dental practices across the country. Central graduates also go onto further studies in institutions world-wide such as Duke, Oxford, Iowa, Iowa State, Institut Catholique – Paris, The Ohio State University, DePaul, Loyola, Texas A&M, George Washington, Western Theological Seminary, the Art Institute of Chicago and the University of Nebraska Medical Center.
“We are actively fundraising for student scholarships with great success while holding costs down,” said Putnam. “We operate as effectively and efficiently as possible but we know it’s important to make key investments as well.”
One such investment is a result of the generosity of the Fred Maytag Family Foundation, which recently donated more than $3.1 million to renovate the Maytag Student Center. Work is scheduled to begin after commencement in mid-May and will be completed during the summer months in time for the first day of classes in late August. The main floor will feature an open commons with a coffee shop, stage and stone fireplace. Meeting spaces also are being designed for major conferences and events with additional space for a retail store. The lower level will be dedicated to fitness and wellness while the upper level will house office space and the van Emmerik Theater.
A significant gift, which established the Thomas J. and Charlene P. Gaard Endowed Residency in the Liberal Arts, is another recent and key investment for students. The signature residency will support scholars in residence and allow Central to host notable people on campus to serve in multi-day residencies in which they will interact with students, the wider campus and Pella area communities.
Additionally, this year’s establishment of the Arthur J. Bosch Endowment for Student Research will link students with faculty and alumni partners in collaborative, academic research.