One cannot avoid the daily headlines of bailouts and washouts, of economic strain and pain. As the person who oversees our admissions and financial aid offices, I pay a great deal of attention to what’s “out there” in terms of both fact and perception. No one would argue that these are easy economic times, and students are doing their research and thinking about where to pursue higher education in the context of some unique conditions, both personal and national.
I maintain several pieces of advise.
In everything, invest for the long term. An education is no different than any other investment that you expect will appreciate over time. If you can make the commitment, and, in some cases, the sacrifice, do it. I wrote about these same themes in a recent blog post.
Do not forget the benefit of values and depth. Yes, it’s important that an education prepare you for career, but equally important that it prepare you for life, for decision-making, for discernment, for responding to and pioneering change in the economy, in government, in the arts, and in the classroom. Small classes, a personal environment, a vast internship network, tremendous post-graduate opportunities are more likely at a place like Loyola. And, such a competitive edge is needed in these difficult times.
Lastly, I fully understand that many decisions will come down to affordability. I have good news for you:
Loyola offers scholarships for merit, i.e., academic performance, no matter what the family’s income. If you take a look at many highly ranked institutions you will find that they do not offer much in the way of performance scholarships. This can make a big difference when it is time to decide where to enroll. Of course, we also offer families who have financial need substantial grant funding.
Now more than ever, value has to be a consideration in the admissions, enrollment, and education processes. And, it is a promise to which Loyola is deeply committed.