Overall Rating Silver - expired
Overall Score 49.23
Liaison Maria Dahmus
Submission Date June 21, 2018
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

University of St. Thomas
PA-7: Affordability and Access

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.80 / 4.00 Kristin Roach
Director of Financial Aid
Enrollment Services
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Does the institution have policies and programs to make it accessible and affordable to low-income students?:

A brief description of any policies and programs to minimize the cost of attendance for low-income students:

The university seeks to recruit a wide range of socio-economically diverse students. Recruitment initiatives are in place to attract students from: a) schools with a significant number of students receiving free and reduced lunch b) schools with a significant number of undocumented students and c) schools located in economically challenged parts of our state (rural or greater MN).

In addition to participating in federal and state need-based financial aid programs, the university awards a significant amount of institutional need-based aid and has matching programs in place with organizations that target students who are economically disadvantaged.

St. Thomas has targeted recruitment, outreach and financial aid programs designed to make a St. Thomas education affordable. For Baccalaureate students, in addition to merit-based aid offered to all students (much of which helps to meet all or a significant portion of need) the university offers:
• St. Thomas Grants - need-based institutional aid awarded to the students with the greatest need
• St. Thomas endowed grants - awarded at donor(s) direction, awarded to students in need (including but not limited to first generation and non-traditional students, single parents, etc.)
• Dease Scholarships - St. Thomas full tuition scholarships awarded to underrepresented, first generation students from urban centers
• Page Foundation Match - St. Thomas matching gift funds awarded to recipients of the Page Foundation Scholarship designed to help underrepresented students and students of color, first generation and low-income
• Horatio Alger Match - St. Thomas matching gift funds awarded to recipients of the Horatio Alger Scholarship based on being economically challenged and demonstrating perseverance and grit

The St. Thomas Dougherty Family College (DFC) is an Associate of Arts program designed specifically to attract low-income students who have overcome obstacles and demonstrated personal determination and grit. The DFC has a specific pricing structure (tuition cap of $15,000) and extensive support from donors so that the students with the greatest need may pay as little as $1000. Two meals per day, metro bus passes and a chrome book are all provided to help support these able students.

A brief description of any programs to equip the institution’s faculty and staff to better serve students from low-income backgrounds:

In Summer, 2017, a committee was established to focus on better supporting first-generation students. While this is not specifically low-income focused, the programming provided through the Faculty Development Center Inclusive Classroom Institute during the 2017-2018 academic year included low-income students. Faculty can take one-off workshops or work toward certification.
- The program defines an inclusive classroom as one that:
- Works to expand personal awareness of one’s own bias and its impact
- Fosters critical awareness of multiple perspectives in class and elsewhere
- Employs teaching methods that acknowledge the variety of student backgrounds and abilities
- Nurtures mutual respect and supports empathic awareness of others’ experiences
- Promotes equitable opportunities for academic success for all students
- Works to develop skill in managing difficult conversations in class

Workshops include:
Preparing for Day One (Required for certification)
Course Design for the Common Good: Transparency and Equity in the Classroom
Facilitating Challenging Conversations
Cultivating Contention: Creating an Intentional Culture of Dialogue
Race, Racism, and Privilege
Fostering Inclusion in STEM Classrooms
The Global Classroom
Safe Space/Brave Space Planning
Creating the Accessible Syllabus

In Spring 2018, Faculty Development also hosted a workshop for faculty called “Demystifying the First-Gen College Experience,” which discussed challenges related to being a first-generation college student (which includes income status) with discussions about tangible ways in which we can create an inclusive classroom environment and how to better serve our students from low-income backgrounds.

The Division of Student Affairs offers several webinars throughout the year, which typically involve underrepresented identities such as low-income. These webinars are usually open to all staff.

Last, the HR Leadership Academy occasionally has a relevant, although not targeted, program such as this Webinar - "Microagressions, Equity & Inclusion: Lessen the Racial Divide to Create an Inclusive Campus Culture"

A brief description of the institution’s programs to guide and prepare students and families from low-income backgrounds for higher education:

The university actively participates in outreach efforts designed to reach students and families from low-income backgrounds. In addition to conducting high school visits and participating in college fairs in areas populated by large numbers of low-income students, we host and actively support events with AVID, TRIO, Upward Bound, College Possible and RAISEME (to name a few). During these events, we share information about the college admission and financial aid timeline/process and about St. Thomas specifically. Each student (and parent) is assigned both a personal admission and personal financial aid counselor so they always have a guide through the enrollment and financing processes.

Our efforts to recruit low-income, first generation and underrepresented students includes outreach to students interested in our baccalaureate program and our Associate of Arts program.

Once students are recruited, we offer both personalized and group information and training sessions on navigating their bill and financial needs at the university. Additionally, the university has a robust financial literacy program that provides modules of information on topics like: debt management, credit card wisdom, building and managing a budget, on-going student loan debt counseling to name a few.

A brief description of the institution's scholarships for low-income students:

As an authorized Title IV school, St. Thomas offers federal Pell grants and Supplemental Educational Opportunity grants (SEOG) and federal work-study. We are also authorized by the state of Minnesota and we offer Minnesota State Grants, Minnesota Dream Act grants, state work-study, Minnesota Indian Grants, Tribal Scholarships, Minnesota Child Care grants and actively participate in the Minnesota Teacher Candidate grant. Additionally, as an institution we offer:

St. Thomas Scholarships and Awards; merit-based awards that meet a portion or all of a student’s need to undergraduate baccalaureate students who are enrolled full-time; we prorate these awards for part-time students

St. Thomas Grants; need-based awards offered to admitted students with the greatest need (this is a four-year need-based commitment)

St. Thomas Special Circumstance Grants; need-based grants awarded to those who appeal for additional assistance and who have extenuating financial circumstances

Urban Journalism Scholarships; awarded to students who complete the Urban Journalism Course who are from underrepresented urban high schools

Page Education matching scholarship program; the university matches funding offered to students selected to be Page Scholars (students who are from urban centers, students of color, underrepresented students and those from low-income backgrounds)

Horatio Alger matching scholarship program; the university matches funding offered to students selected to be Horatio Alger Scholars who are students who have come from economically disadvantaged backgrounds

Leaders for Tomorrow matching scholarship program; affiliated with the Boys and Girls Club and the Annexstad Foundation, St. Thomas matches (and exceeds) funding offered by this foundation. Funds are targeted toward those who are economically challenged and who have overcome significant obstacles.

Assorted endowed scholarships; given by St. Thomas donors to help specific types of students including first-generation, need-based, single parents, those who have endured hardship

A brief description of the institution’s targeted outreach to recruit students from low-income backgrounds:

St. Thomas has a comprehensive recruitment plan that targets low-income, first generation and underrepresented students. Names are purchased as a part of the “search” process to invite and encourage those students to consider St. Thomas and to get them into the recruitment funnel. High school visits are made to schools that have a large percentage of students receiving free and reduced lunch and to those located in urban areas. Community Based Organization (CBO) visits are made to reach students from underrepresented, low-income families, first generation backgrounds and to those who may benefit from either the baccalaureate or the Associate of Arts program.

A brief description of the institution’s other policies or programs to make the institution accessible and affordable to low-income students:

Does the institution have policies and programs to support non-traditional students?:

A brief description of the institution’s scholarships provided specifically for part-time students:

Merit based scholarships and awards are awarded assuming full-time enrollment, however they can be prorated when a student needs to attend part-time.

A brief description of the institution’s on-site child care facility, partnership with a local facility, and/or subsidies or financial support to help meet the child care needs of students:

The University of St. Thomas Child Development Center (CDC), located on the St. Paul campus, offers full and part time year-around programming to the children of St. Thomas students, faculty and broader community. It serves children from 6 weeks to 5 years of age and priovides a first priority on waiting lists to children of St. Thomas students.

The CDC offers a sliding fee subsidy that is available to college students that can provide a 5%-45% monthly fee discount based on family income and family size.

Enrolled students that have children may apply for the Minnesota Child Care grant that can provide up to $1,500 per eligible child per semester to apply toward daycare expenses.

A brief description of the institution’s other policies and programs to support non-traditional students:

When students are only able to attend part-time due to work and/or family commitments, St. Thomas will prorate eligibility for institutional grants and scholarships based on part-time enrollment.

For veterans or students that qualify for veterans education benefits, the university offers an unlimited amount of Yellow Ribbon scholarships. The St. Paul campus has a veterans resource center as well as an active veterans association.

Students that have daycare expenses have the opportunity to apply for the MN Child Care grant.

Institutional policy requires consecutive enrollment to maintain institutional scholarship consideration, however appeals are granted for aid to be reinstated when students have special circumstances such as personal work commitments, family issues, or internship requirements that necessitate an absence from school.

Off-campus Student Services also maintains a website with resources for students who are parents (https://www.stthomas.edu/offcampus/parents/). The Anderson Student Center features a private room designed specifically for women who are nursing their baby or those needing to change a baby’s diaper. Space may be reserved for up to 30 minutes at a time. Space is available during Anderson Student Center normal hours of operation. The family room is equipped with a sink, soft seating, refrigerator, and flat screen television.

Does the institution wish to pursue Part 2 of this credit (tracking accessibility and affordability)? (If data is not available, select 'No'):

The percentage of entering students that are low-income (0-100):

The graduation/success rate for low-income students (0-100):

On average, the percentage of need that was met for students who were awarded any need-based aid (e.g. as reported to the U.S. Common Data Set initiative, item H2) (0-100):

The percentage of students graduating with no interest-bearing student loan debt or for whom no out-of-pocket tuition is required (i.e. the percentage of graduates who have not taken out interest-bearing loans) (0-100):

Estimated percentage of students that participate in or directly benefit from the institution’s policies and programs to support low-income and non-traditional students (0-100):

The website URL where information about the programs or initiatives is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:

Data source(s) and notes about the submission:

The information presented here is self-reported. While AASHE staff review portions of all STARS reports and institutions are welcome to seek additional forms of review, the data in STARS reports are not verified by AASHE. If you believe any of this information is erroneous or inconsistent with credit criteria, please review the process for inquiring about the information reported by an institution or simply email your inquiry to stars@aashe.org.