By KIMBERLY WEINBERG
University of Pittsburgh
The University of Pittsburgh at Bradford has been recognized as one of the 150 “Best Value Colleges” in American for 2012 by The Princeton Review.
Although he was quite pleased with the honor, Dr. Livingston Alexander, president at Pitt-Bradford, said he wasn’t overly surprised by the selection of Pitt-Bradford as a “best value college.”
“This new recognition by The Princeton Review substantiates what many have said for years about Pitt-Bradford -- that we provide the highest quality education available in our region at an affordable price,” he said. “Most students who attend Pitt-Bradford qualify for generous merit awards and donor scholarships that bring the cost of attendance to a manageable level.”
Pitt-Bradford was one of only eight Pennsylvania colleges and one of only five public colleges with fewer than 2,000 students included on the list. Also, it was one of 56 colleges that are new to the list and the only regional campus within the University of Pittsburgh system that was named.
The “Best Value Colleges” project was launched in 2004 by The Princeton Review to identify America’s top undergraduate schools offering excellent academics, generous financial aid, and/or relatively low cost of attendance.
Alex Nazemetz, director of admissions at Pitt-Bradford, said that the “Best Value” label will help admissions counselors communicate the message about the university offering an affordable education.
Many prospective students and their parents are glad to learn the full “list price” of a Pitt-Bradford education may be significantly reduced by financial assistance.
About 94 percent of students at Pitt-Bradford receive some form of financial aid. In 2010-11, the average financial aid award was $16,490 for in-state students and $19,250 for out-of-state students.
“People are pleasantly surprised about the fact that our final price tag is reasonable – about the same price as a state college,” Nazemetz said.
Keeping the cost low, especially for students from the region, is a high priority. With that in mind, last fall Pitt-Bradford increased its merit scholarships for full-time freshmen and transfer students entering Pitt-Bradford for the fall of 2012.
Merit scholarships, which can be up to $11,500 per year for full-time out-of-state freshmen living on campus, are provided to students when they’re admitted and are independent of any other financial aid they may receive.
Nearly half of new freshmen at Pitt-Bradford receive merit scholarships.
Alexander said, “Providing substantial merit scholarships is one of many ways in which we continue to make our high quality education accessible to qualified students, despite their financial means.”
In addition to merit scholarships and other parts of a financial aid package, students are also eligible to receive private donor scholarships.
In November, Pitt-Bradford announced that a total of 44 new scholarships had been created thanks to a three-year scholarship challenge funded by the estate of Agnes L. Thomas. In addition, money was added to the funds for 53 existing scholarships.
In total, Pitt-Bradford has more than 160 endowed and annual donor scholarship funds that, in 2010-2011, awarded more than $430,000 to more than 340 students.
Even with $2.25 millionin additional endowed scholarship funds raised by the Thomas challenge, raising additional scholarship money will continue to be one of the primary goals of a $17.5 million campaign Pitt-Bradford will launch with a public kick-off March 23.
The campaign has a $6.5 million goal for scholarships.
Jill McInroy-Ballard, executive director of institutional advancement, said, “The university’s Institutional Advancement Council is very sensitive to the needs of our students.”
The council, which is part of a larger Advisory Board made up of citizens who advise Alexander and his staff, worked with financial aid administrators in setting the goal for scholarships, McInroy-Ballard said.
While future students might not pay attention to where their financial aid comes from, Nazemetz said, their parents do. “It really says a lot to parents when they see people giving money so that their children can go to school at Pitt-Bradford. It means they believe in the place.”