Defining Every Student’s Success: Finance & Philanthropy
“Every student” in the finance and philanthropy context means all students that the College has recruited and chosen to accept, regardless of socioeconomic background, financial means, and ability to pay.
Access to an Ursinus education regardless of financial means is central to this vision of our future. By admitting a prospective student, the College commits itself to ensuring that each student it admits has access to an Ursinus education and understands the value and costs involved. It establishes a thorough understanding between the College and the student of the financial investment they are taking on as they pursue their degree. The College recognizes that students who come to Ursinus have varying levels of financial means and literacy regarding financial aid. The College must meet each student and their family where they are in terms of their understanding of financial aid, debt and repayment obligations, and alternative ways of financing their education. Even if financial circumstances change in the short run, the College must be willing and able to meet the student where they stand to continue their education.
“Student success” from a financial standpoint means that students pursuing an Ursinus education can meet their financial aid and debt repayment obligations without significant detrimental impact on their ability to pursue personal and professional goals while on campus and after graduation. Students should not have to mortgage their future in order to afford an Ursinus degree, nor should such financial considerations be a primary determinant of their course of study while on campus. Contemporaneous elements of financial aid such as work-study should be designed to support and enhance, rather than detract from the academic and extracurricular experience at the College. Similarly, Ursinus must understand what is considered a healthy, viable, and sustainable level of post-graduation debt so that students are not impaired in their ability to pursue other elements of their personal and professional lives such as starting a family. While this is a goal of the College, we also recognize that this commitment is one that will require substantial financial resources that Ursinus does not yet possess.
The financial well-being of the College plays a critical role not only in reducing the financial burden of students, but also in providing the institution with the financial resources to offer meaningful academic, social and extracurricular experiences that shape students’ success. Without engagement from alumni and the generous philanthropic support from those whose lives have been positively impacted by Ursinus, the College would be unable to provide the resources to sustain the value proposition to future generations of students. The College’s financial well-being depends on broad-based fundraising, prudent endowment management, and smart control of operating budgets. Our institutional ability to be on a firm and sustainable financial footing will provide the resources for our students to have individualized experiences that make a lasting impact on their lives.