Pella Chronicle

Local News

February 11, 2013

Central announces smallest price rate increase in 40 years

Pella — Sensitive to the economic challenges facing working families and the rapidly escalating cost of educating students, Central College has announced its smallest price rate increase in more than 40 years.

Total price for tuition, room, board and fees will be just 3.95 percent higher in 2013-14, well under the national average annual increase of 7.5 percent over the past 35 years, as reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Tuition for 2013-14 will be $30,700, with an additional $4,892 for room and $5,088 for a 20-meal board plan.

To help meet that expense, the college will increase the nearly $21.5 million in financial assistance that it awarded in 2012-13. More than 99 percent of students received financial aid packages that averaged $26,452 this past year. Packages may include gift assistance, work study and student loans. About 96 percent of Central students who graduate do so within four years, further increasing the efficiency of their investment.

“Central College is keenly aware of the need to create opportunity and affordability for students, without sacrificing quality,” said Mark Putnam, president. “And, with our lowest increase in four decades, our campus and board leaders have renewed our commitment to ensuring that many students can benefit from these unique educational experiences. As a campus community we have rallied together to place every resource at our disposal to its highest and best use. We provide a transformational educational experience and develop 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. About 76 percent of Central students complete an internship or pre-professional experience before they graduate, and nearly 50 percent participate in the college’s own study abroad programs, compared to 1 percent of college students nationally who study in a foreign country. Central students also immerse themselves in more than 80 campus organizations and activities.

Within a year of graduation, more than 96 percent of Central students are either employed in a field of their choice, enrolled in graduate/professional school or completing a year of service.

For Jon Ness of Johnston, the advantages gained through a Central education first stood out when he began hiring new employees at the Principal Financial Group in Des Moines. His family has become convinced as well. Jon and his wife Amy’s three children and their spouses all either graduated from Central in the past three years or are currently enrolled.

“When interviewing graduating seniors, Central students often stand out because of their maturity, communication skills and well-rounded college experiences, including studying abroad,” Ness said. “In short, they make great employees. Personally, we have a household of Central graduates. Three of them will eventually be earning graduate degrees and all of them are well-prepared for a lifetime of learning. We firmly believe Central College has been a good investment for our family.”     

Central offers a highly personalized education. The college’s distinctive Integrated Learning program is an infusion of campus life and academics. It pairs the classroom with the residence halls, athletics fields, laboratories, concert venues and student clubs.

Students also take advantage of the college’s innovative new class dean system. A dean follows each class through all four years at Central, acting as a personal resource and mentor. Central’s class directors are also campus resources who are experts in the challenges facing students in each of the four academic years.

Meanwhile, Central’s 103 full-time faculty members’ top priority is classroom instruction. With a 13:1 student to faculty ratio, they’re able to develop strong relationships that enhance each student’s experience and better equip them for graduate programs and professional careers.

“The opportunities that students and faculty have to work together at Central are fantastic,” said Keith Jones, professor of psychology and Mark and Kay De Cook Endowed Chair in Character and Leadership Development. “They go well beyond the stereotypical classroom experience. Collaboration requires flexibility, so the fact that Central students and faculty know each other allows us to approach ambitious questions and projects creatively. When you combine ambition and creativity, you are able to accomplish more and go places that others may only dream about.”

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