Emerson Today recently spoke with Ruthanne Madsen, Vice President for Enrollment at Emerson, about the recent tuition increase and what the College has done to lessen the impact for students and their families.
Below are her thoughts and information about resources the College has made available.
Q: What would you say to students and families who are anxious about the 2 percent tuition increase for 2022-23?
A: We know that there are families struggling in the current economic environment, given the financial impact of the pandemic and we are once again offering the Tuition Increase Offset Fund, which supports the continued enrollment of our undergraduate students and allows for the path to an Emerson degree to remain clear.
The College staff is working individually with families to discuss options for financial assistance so the increase won’t negatively impact those who can least afford the additional expenses. The Tuition Increase Offset Fund is intended to ease the stress of planning for the next academic year.
Q: Can you talk about what a tuition increase pays for?
A: Next year’s tuition and fees, which is set by the Board of Trustees, reflect the College’s anticipated continued investment in a safe and robust academic experience for students as we continue to emerge from the pandemic. In addition, the recent inflation increase, which is well above 6 percent, is an additional factor that, for Emerson, results in increased costs for food, utilities, and basic infrastructure needs.
Among the programmatic additions that students will experience are:
- The creation of the Emerson Circle of Creative Scholars program and Access and Belonging functional area within the Office of Student Success, which will help the College to support a diverse community,
- An increase in staffing with an additional Senior Advocate for the Healing and Advocacy Collective,
- The launch of the iGrad financial wellness program supporting all students, faculty, staff, and alumni,
- The expansion of the Emersion: Foundations of Success program to all new first-time students,
- The launch of the First-Gen Forward program, which will provide the College and students with additional resources and best practices for first-generation students and,
- Increased 4 + 1 programs that allow undergraduate students to accelerate their degree program to achieve both a bachelor’s and a master’s.
- A re-structure of the College’s Title IX Office and an increase in staff to support our community,
Q: How is the College trying to help students who need financial assistance?
A:The Student Financial Services Portal (SFS Portal) has several options for students to either request additional financial assistance or set up a meeting with a financial aid representative. Any continuing undergraduate student who finds it will be financially difficult to remain enrolled due to the tuition increase can apply for additional funding to offset this adjustment. In addition, if families experience changes in their household that negatively impact their financial outlook, they may appeal for additional financial aid. Applications for appeals, the Student Assistance Fund, and the Increase Offset Fund can all be found in the portal. We encourage students to complete these applications or set up an appointment to discuss their financial situation. Appointments are available via Zoom, in-person, and by phone to ensure all students are able to access our staff in a way that works best for them.
Applying for additional financial support can be done in three easy steps:
1. Go to the SFS Portal
2. In the Supplement Funding Application section, click on the purple “Apply for Increase Offset Fund” button. This ’22-’23 application will be made available in the portal on June 1.
3. When the new page opens, follow the instructions to complete and submit the form.
In addition to these options Carol Smolinsky, Director of Financial Wellness, Education, and Communications, is available to share financial wellness and support resources through Emerson’s financial education program, Money Matters. One resource I’d like to highlight is our recent partnership with iGrad, an online financial wellness platform that includes a searchable scholarship database. All Emerson community members are able to access this resource at no cost.
Q: How does Emerson compare to other colleges and universities in terms of tuition increases?
A: Relatively speaking, Emerson’s tuition increase is lower than most, but we realize that any increase can cause stress, and that is why we are working diligently to support our students and families in any way possible through access to financial aid, information, options, and individual conversations that help to alleviate the worries that come with funding the cost of higher education.
Q: Which office is best suited to help students and parents understand what assistance might be available to them?
The Office of Student Accounts can be reached by phone at 617-824-8655 (option 1) or by email at email@example.com.
The Office of Student Success can be reached by phone at 617-824-8650 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Any one of these three offices within Student Financial Services is ready to help students and their families look forward to the new academic year.