Making Opportunity Affordable

Meet John A. Kelley III, a recent graduate from The Hospitality College at the Providence Campus. Like many JWU students, Kelley '10 faces the reality of the rising costs of education. How aid affects students led him to write a research paper titled “Three Forces Affecting Middle-Income Students: Affordability of the College Experience.”

JWU Student John Kelley on Making opportunity affordable“Students from middle-income families face difficulties when applying for aid from the government, a university or outside sources,” Kelley notes, from experience.

As a high school junior he was involved with DECA, and knew, with room and board, it would cost almost $32,000 to attend JWU. He received a $10,000 four-year, renewable scholarship. By researching outside scholarships he secured an additional $10,000 per year. “Many students just take on loans, but there is money out there,” he says.

Kelley is right. Beyond institutional aid, more than $130 billion in financial aid is available, according to the College Board, an educational nonprofit.

Marie Bernardo ’92, university registrar and vice president of student services, chairs JWU’s Strategic Enrollment Team that in 2008-09 alone awarded close to $94 million in overall institutional aid. In 2011-12, JWU is budgeting $130 million in institutional aid to fund scholarships and grants. “In a changing economy, aid and scholarships make a difference,” says Bernardo. “It’s encouraging how much it impacts our students’ lives.”

While at JWU, Kelley belonged to the President’s Leadership Council and Student Alumni Association. The goals and determination of students like him deserves support. “The more aid I received, the harder it made me work,” says Kelley. His academic performance allowed him keep his scholarship and enjoy the full college experience. “Some day I hope to give back and provide someone else an opportunity too.”

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