|Submission Date||March 5, 2021|
University of St. Thomas
PA-8: Affordability and Access
|2.89 / 4.00||
Director of Financial Aid
Percentage of need met, on average, for students who were awarded any need-based aid :
Percentage of students graduating without student loan debt:
Percentage of entering students that are low-income:
Graduation/success rate for low-income students:
A brief description of notable policies or programs to make the institution accessible and affordable to 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, along with urban centers).
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. University President, Dr. Julie Sullivan, made a commitment to meet a higher percentage of need demonstrated by our applicants who were Pell and MN State Grant eligible. Our results show between a 9% - 10% increase in the need met between new students enrolling in the fall of 2019 and those enrolling in the fall of 2020.
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:
• Founder’s Grants – need-based institutional aid awarded to students at the point of admission
• St. Thomas Grants - need-based institutional aid awarded to the students with the greatest need
• St. Thomas endowed/restricted scholarships and grants - awarded at donor(s) direction, awarded to students in need (including but not limited to first generation, under-represented and non-traditional students, single parents, students experiencing financial hardship, housing and food insecurity, etc.)
• Dease Scholarships - St. Thomas full-tuition scholarships awarded to underrepresented, first generation students from urban centers who complete a competitive scholarship application
• 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 annually to earn an AA degree. DFC provides two meals per day, Metro Transit bus passes and a chrome book. There are also funds and programs in place to help with food insecurity.
St. Thomas also created a DFC Excellence Scholarship program designed to support students who graduate from the DFC and who wish to continue their education at St. Thomas to earn a baccalaureate degree. Donors gave generously to this program and the University has provided generous tuition discounts to make it possible for these students to afford a St. Thomas degree. The first cohort of DFC Excellence Scholarship recipients will graduate in the spring of 2020.
To further advance the University's commitment, St. Thomas joined the American Talent Initiative, which is a nationwide consortium of schools working collaboratively to expand access and opportunity for highly talented lower-income students. As a part of this program, the University has been working to meet a greater percentage of the need demonstrated by our low-income, under-represented, under-served students.
A brief description of notable policies or programs to support non-traditional students:
Support for non-traditional students comes in different forms. The Office of Student Diversity and Inclusion Services (SDIS) offers programs to support the experience of students who are underrepresented at St. Thomas. SDIS also has welcoming space for students to meet, study, share experience and build community. SDIS also manages signature programs that offer peer mentors and bridge programs.
The Excel! Research Scholars Program prepares students for graduate and professional school, and the Ignite Research Scholars program provides support for underrepresented undergraduate researchers. The STEM Inclusive Excellence program supports underrepresented STEM students, with peer mentors, and academic advisors trained to create community and address the hidden curriculum of higher education.
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.
St. Thomas awards need-based Special Circumstance Grants to those who appeal for additional assistance and who have extenuating financial circumstances.
Off-campus Student Life also maintains a website with resources for students who are parents (https://www.stthomas.edu/offcampus/parents/). The website includes information about locations of diaper changing stations on campus and spaces for nursing and pumping. 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 is available during Anderson Student Center normal hours of operation. The Student Center's family room is equipped with a sink, soft seating, refrigerator, and flat screen television.
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:
Website URL where information about the institution’s accessibility and affordability initiatives is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:
- In all cases, the low-income is defined as students who are eligible for Pell awards on the basis of their federal (FAFSA) EFC.
- The figure for students graduating without student loan debt is based on an analysis of the Spring 2020 graduating cohort.
- Entering students that are low income is based on the FTFY cohort entering in Fall 2020.
- The graduation/success rate for low-income students is a six-year graduation rate for the most recent three cohorts beginning > 6 years ago (Fall 2012, Fall 2013, Fall 2014).
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 and complete the Data Inquiry Form.