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King University News :: King College Affordable Investment for Students' Future

For many students across the country, the cost of a college education can be quite daunting.  Despite challenging economic conditions throughout the country, King College has seen record enrollment increases every year for the past 12 years.  King’s commitment to providing quality educational opportunities for its students and the surrounding region is evident through the College’s exceptional admissions process designed to ensure affordability and its sustained development of both traditional and Graduate Professional Studies programs. 

“The past several years have been transformational for the College,” said LeAnn Hughes, vice president of marketing and admissions.  “Through combined efforts of the College and the extended community that has embraced King’s mission, the School is reaching new heights.  In a time where many schools have seen a decline in their numbers, we have far exceeded enrollment expectations.  We are hopeful that the trend will continue on into the 2012-2013 academic year.” 

In a recent New York Times article by Andrew Martin and Andrew W. Lehren, the two talk of “A generation hobbled by the soaring cost of college.”  Martin and Lehren cite a Department of Education survey of 2007-08 traditional graduates that states about two-thirds of bachelor’s degree recipients borrow money to attend college, either from the government or private lenders.  The survey, however, did not take into account monies borrowed from family members.  By contrast, 45 percent of 1992-93 graduates borrowed money; a number which does include family borrowing as well as governmental and private loans.

Currently, when compared to other regional institutions of higher learning, King has significantly lower average graduate debt than other schools, both private and public. 

Through data compiled by an advocacy group, the Institute for College Access and Success, The New York Times reported the average amount of debt students have at graduation has increased at a vast majority of colleges and universities in the United States. 

The data showed that King College’s average graduate debt in 2010 was only $13,484, while five neighboring public and private institutions averaged $21,382 in graduate debt.

“Our admissions representatives sedulously work in combination with King financial aid representatives to ensure what debt students do incur is markedly less than they might acquire at other institutions,” said Greg King, assistant vice president of enrollment management.  “Regardless of price tag, the overall goal is helping ensure students can afford to come to King.”

“Very few families are able to pay for college out of pocket,” said Melinda Clark, vice president of student financial services.  “We work with families of all income levels, evaluating scholarship availability.  Financial aid representatives will also estimate state and federal aid so families have an understanding of the costs early in the process.  Each year, King College awards more than $35 million in scholarships, grants, loans, and student campus employment for both traditional and GPS students.  Ninety-eight percent of King’s traditional students receive assistance with an average annual award of $17,520.”

“King’s admissions representatives help prospective students realize there are more contributing factors to consider in the college selection process than simply looking at cost,” said Elvin Browne, director of undergraduate recruitment and admissions for King.  “One of the things King does that sets the School apart is ensuring freshman, when they begin at King, are set on a path that will allow them to graduate in four years.”

In December 2011, Steven Yoder of The Fiscal Times reported, “Today, especially among low-income students who attend public community colleges as a gateway to a college or university, 27 percent actually graduate in four years, and 48 percent of those pursuing bachelor’s degrees at private schools do so, according to ACT Inc., an organization that provides college testing exams and other services.  Most students take at least six years, and even then only 55 percent get their degrees.”

“King’s graduation rate currently averages about 82 percent,” said Brown.  “By graduating in four years, students are able to decrease the loan amounts they may incur.  The longer the student is in school, the more debt they may acquire.  Our admissions representatives help make certain students are on track with a four-year curriculum for their major.”

King College works to maximize students’ financial aid possibilities through offering greater accessibility to scholarship monies from the beginning of the admissions process.  “Students who have excelled in high school and have exceptional scholastic backgrounds will receive greater academic merit scholarships than have been given in the past,” said Clark.  “A student has the potential to receive up to $12,000 per year in merit scholarship funds simply for having a 27 or higher on the ACT and a 3.5 or greater GPA.” 

King is able to provide additional financial aid opportunities for students in the way of grants through King’s Annual Fund for Scholarships Programs.  The College also offers numerous scholarships in areas which include Performing Visual Arts (PVA) and athletics.  There are also funds available for those students who wish to live on campus.  These financial aid opportunities help reduce the amount of money a student will potentially have to borrow. 

“King’s admissions reps are knowledgeable about all aspects of life at King,” continued Browne.  “They are able to take a student from initial contact straight through the financial aid process and even through the student affairs process of registering for classes and finalizing all the details.  It provides students with an understanding that they matter – that they are not just a number, but are now part of the King community.”

King’s Career Center staff also begins working with students from day one to help determine the best career path for them.  All first-year students take FOCUS-2, a series of personality- and skills-based tests designed to help students narrow their career possibilities according to the things they like to do or excel at doing.  The results of this test are incorporated into the student’s classroom experience immediately and coupled with guidance toward developing travel and internship opportunities.

Students will have opportunities to shadow professionals and participate in internships beginning in their sophomore year.  Juniors will focus on building their portfolios and developing resume-writing and interviewing skills, and seniors will begin actively job-hunting with the assistance of the Career Center.

“Our goal is to engage students as soon as they enter the College and work closely with them all four years to ensure they have the best opportunity for a career that fits them,” said Finley Green, director of alumni and career services for King. 

“Our Career Center does a great job of not only discussing the opportunities that are out there for earnings but are also preparing students in such a way when they graduate they are not spending an exorbitant amount of time trying to find a job,” said Browne. 

King College students graduate empowered for their future endeavors.  During the past two years, an average of more than 85 percent of King graduates seeking employment were employed within six months of graduation.  Of the King graduates who chose to continue their education, more than 80 percent have been accepted into their first choice graduate or professional school.