“Looking back on 150 years of Drew history, it is easy to be struck by the remarkable changes that have taken us from seminary to university, from a haven of Methodist teaching to a national model of global and experiential education. But remarkable, too, is this underlying consistency: Drew has always been a place where seekers find a sense of belonging and a spiritual and intellectual home.“
The stability and serenity of The Forest have helped to shape thousands of young men and women across three centuries. The legacy of Daniel Drew—lion of Wall Street and lamb of The Forest—echoes in a stalwart adherence to the ideals of our founders, from the Great Five—Drew’s initial corps of master mentors—to the Baldwin Brothers to Barbara Caspersen. We continue to nurture one-on-one mentoring relationships with professors, in and out of the classroom, and win-win civic engagement partnerships that foster deeper learning and stronger communities. We still cherish the peace of The Forest and the excitement of the city.
So, the value of Drew is abundantly clear to us, but not necessarily to families who are new to Drew. Our 2017–2018 tuition price makes us seem beyond the reach of many families, when, in reality, most do not pay the full tuition price, thanks to the generous financial aid that Drew offers.
This high tuition/high aid model has long been the norm at most private colleges and universities. But the true affordability of a Drew education is obscured by its sticker price. As such, the Board of Trustees and I feel that the time has come for Drew to be clear about its tuition.
What better time to take this step than this, our 150th anniversary year? Drew has invested in our strengths and focused our energies on the student experience. Drew is growing. Over the past few years, we’ve experienced a 27% increase in incoming students, a 50% increase in transfer students, and a 195% increase in international students.
Strong enrollment—combined with more efficient operations and resource allocations—allows us to reset tuition without cuts to our academic offerings or student services. In fact, we’re actively expanding opportunities. Most recently, Drew has launched new majors and minors, partnered with other universities to offer new professional combined degree programs, and doubled the number of New York Semesters that introduce students to the professional spheres of their fields.
Under the tuition reset, Drew will continue to provide generous, need-based financial aid while narrowing the gap between the top-line tuition charge and the bottom-line net price. A lower sticker price at the outset will encourage more—and more economically diverse—families to take a closer look at Drew.
Now, when I deliver my impassioned pitch for a Drew education to high school students and their parents, the message will no longer be overshadowed by sticker shock; Drew’s tuition is now much more in line with its peer institutions. And that might even leave me an opening to share my delight in Drew’s surprising history (say, the unexpected gift of the eccentric Wendel family, who had ties to four Drew presidents, or our connection to our patron of the arts, Dorothy Young, who happened to be the last stage assistant of Harry Houdini) as well as my conviction that the next 150 years will be as astounding as the first.—MaryAnn Baenninger