AU Press Releases

Alfred University parents take out smaller loans than those of students at competitor schools

Parents of Alfred University students are taking on less debt than those whose students attend competitor schools, according to a report issued earlier this month by U.S. News and World Report.

U.S. News looked at the average Parents PLUS loans families take on, based on data reported to the U.S. Department of Education, and found the average Parent PLUS loan at Alfred University is $11,198, less than one-third of the average loan at some of the elite schools.  Alfred University also comes in well below Clarkson, Cornell, St. John Fisher, Nazareth, Elmira, Rochester Institute of Technology, University of Rochester, and the Rhode Island School of Design, among others.

“This information, coupled with an earlier U.S. News report that ranks Alfred University as 16th in the Northeast among master’s level schools as a ‘best value,’ affirms Alfred University’s commitment to making higher education affordable,” said Alfred University President Mark Zupan.

“What this all means is that Alfred University continues to provide terrific value to its students,” said Brian Dalton, vice president for Enrollment Management. “We are committed to cutting through the confusion among students and parents today about the actual cost of higher education. Alfred University offers a ‘Great Value’ due to financial aid that it offers that dramatically lowers the actual cost of attendance when compared to its sticker price.  Historically maintaining one of the lowest tuition prices of any private college or university in western New York, Alfred University awards over $31 million in financial aid to students annually, much of it due to the generosity of our alumni who create endowed scholarships.”

Dalton explained that Alfred University incorporates state and federal aid (most of which is based on family income); merit aid, based on academic performance; and institutional aid, which is a combination of scholarships and grants, depending upon a student’s academic performance and his or her family’s ability to pay. Since some families are able to help underwrite their child’s education, there are also loans, some of which are taken in the name of the student, and some of which are loans to parents, including the Parent PLUS loan.

Alfred University is also reporting first-year applications are at an all-time high, up 13 percent over last year at this time, and up 5 percent over our previous high. “While it is still very early in the process, deposits are up over 33 percent over last year,” noted Zupan. “We are seeing increased applications to all four of our academic units—the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the College of Business, the Inamori School of Engineering, and the School of Art and Design, with the most marked increase attributed to the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.”

“Given that the results of our web redesign and branding work will not impact our application numbers until Fall 2019, we are pleased with the application trend,” Zupan said.

“We attribute the uptick to several factors:

-- “The interest in our APEX (applied and experiential learning) program, launched this year that will provide every first-year student who matriculates this fall with up to $2,000 each by their junior year to participate in a meaningful coop, internship, service learning, research or study abroad opportunity.  According to many studies, such opportunities are the best predictor of students’ future success.

--  “Several recent gifts from our Board of Trustees, alumni, and friends that are allowing us to spruce up our residence halls and our athletic facilities for our student-athletes and our broader community.

-- “More fully engaging our alumni, faculty, staff and current students in recruiting our next class through our recently launched VISA (Volunteers in Support of Alfred) program.

--  “Working to smooth the path for transfer students into Alfred University through articulation agreements with community colleges. We are also working on agreements with relevant graduate schools of medicine and law to help our students connect the dots to promising future professional careers.

--  “Developing an Alfred University pledge whereby we better set expectations for students and our faculty/staff regarding what all relevant parties commit to so as to ensure that our incoming first-year students will graduate in four years.

-- “Highlighting our cross-disciplinary program offerings. These offerings include a management minor for students in our School of Art and Design. We also provide the opportunity to earn two degrees from Alfred University in five years, through our 4+1 option that allows students to pair bachelor’s work in fields such as chemistry, astronomy, English, engineering, math, psychology, sociology, and art and design, with an MBA from our business school.”