A Private-Like Education at a Public Education Tuition Rate

St. Mary's College of Maryland
With most private colleges costing around $40,000 a year, students are opting for a cheaper education at schools that offer an amazing education, but at public school prices. And St. Mary’s College of Maryland is one hot-spot school that is attracting students who are hungry for a solid college education, but don’t have the appetite for private school tuition rates.
At tuition costing $13,630 a year for residents, students can receive the same type of courses and teaching methods that you would find at expensive private liberal arts schools like Swarthmore College and Amherst College.
Not only is the tuition less expensive than private schools, but it has the highest graduation rate of any other public college in Massachusetts. In addition, enrollment is booming at St. Mary’s; It had one of its busiest admission seasons last fall with 2,400 applicants competing for less than 500 freshman seats.
The college, which used to be considered a party school, is now an officially designated “honors college.” New president Joseph Urgo, who starts July 1, hopes the college will become an untapped national model.
“It’s intriguing, and it works, and it’s successful,” Urgo told the Washington Post. “Often, you can be doing something somewhere and not realize it’s revolutionary.”
Though the school is sometimes confused with an all-girls Catholic school, it is not. With a public mission, which includes reaching out to minority students within the surrounding regions, Urgo hopes the school to become even more diverse. But he is concerned that the school will remain a tuition-relief program for middle-class whites.
“Not enough first-generation students know about it. Not enough students of color know about it,” he said. “My sense is that we’re not reaching those populations entirely.”
Still, St. Mary’s, with its high graduation rates, has a 71 percent graduation rate for blacks, while the average black graduation rate for Maryland public colleges is only 18 percent.
While the college has felt the heavy load of the recession, with their endowment diminishing from $30 million to $24 million, the college still continues to offer a private-like education with the cost of a public education. Faculty members say the secret to the success of the school is due to its intimate class sizes and professors’ open door policy.
Via The Washington Post