CROMWELL– While most colleges in New England and across the country are – once again – raising tuition, Holy Apostles College and Seminary has taken a leap of faith and lowered its.
As of July 1, undergraduates are seeing a 28 percent drop, while graduate students are paying 8.5 percent less. Credit-hours that last year cost $445 for undergraduates and $350 for graduates are pegged at $320 across the board, according to Basilian Father Douglas Mosey, president-rector since 1996.
“We know students are under a tremendous burden and that the average student for a bachelor’s degree borrows up to $30,000,” Father Mosey said. “[Future] debt-free missionary disciples are a blessing to the church, a gift to the church.”
Established in 1957, Holy Apostles College and Seminary is a regionally accredited, co-educational liberal arts Catholic college located at 33 Prospect Hill Rd. It offers undergraduate, graduate and seminary degrees in philosophy and theology. On-campus, online and blended formats are offered.
“The online program has shown continued growth over the last 10 years, so now it’s maturing, and our projections are that we will have more students because we now just got accreditation for the bachelor’s program as well as the master’s degree program,” Father Mosey said.
Dr. Sebastian Mahfood, vice president of administration, said, “Last June, the State of Connecticut Office of Higher Education approved us for a 100-percent online undergraduate degree program, and so that was a game changer.” The college reached out to high schools and home schools, touting the state’s approval, and it paid off. Enrollment spiked.
“We were actually able, with the revenue that we were receiving through the increased number, to lower the cost to everybody,” he said.
In a for-profit business, increasing the number of customers usually signals higher prices – supply and demand – but Holy Apostles is a nonprofit college, Dr. Mahfood said.
“In a for-profit organization, the rule, in the first semester of an MBA class, is that the goal is to maximize the wealth of the shareholders,” he said. “But we’re not in the maximizing-the-wealth-of-our-shareholders-on-earth business. We’re building up treasure in heaven.”
Except for a tuition increase last year of 9 percent, in order to give adjunct faculty a long-overdue raise, Dr. Mahfood said, Holy Apostles had been increasing tuition by about 3 percent a year for several years, as have other local colleges and universities.
“We envision maintaining it for as long as we can maintain it. We have no intention of raising it for the next few years,” he said.
Registration for the fall 2015 semester is not complete yet, but Dr. Mahfood projects that there will be about 60 on-campus students, 250 graduate students and as many as 100 online undergraduate students when classes begin Aug. 22.
“The real growth we’re seeing is in the undergraduate, simply because it provides an alternative to parents who otherwise would face the possibility of two things: one, sending the child out into the world at a secular university or away from home and spending $40,000 a year for college; or to do college with us for $9,600 a year,” he said.
Father Mosey said that at $9,600 (plus fees and books), it is possible for many students to begin college without having to borrow a dime.
“Now if you’re working 20 hours a week at Domino’s Pizza, and if your mom and dad would cover your room and board and living expenses and medical insurance, then you could earn $9,600,” he said.
The master’s program is also successful, Father Mosey said.
“Our [graduate] students are adult learners who want to know more about the faith. They may work in chanceries, or they may work in parishes as catechists or pastoral associates or chaplain ministries or pro-life, or they are Mom and Dad raising a family and they want to know more about the faith so they can teach it to their children,” he said. “Catechesis, it is generally agreed, over the last 50 years has been lacking, so there are many adults whom we call sacramentalized but they’re not catechized.”
He added, “We’re not trying to build up a large endowment. We’re not trying to build new buildings. We’re just trying to teach the faith and do it in a way that can be affordable and flexible.”
For more information, visit www.holyapostles.edu or call 860-632-3010.