President Barack Obama recently announced his Blueprint for Keeping College Affordable and Within Reach for All Americans. While I have some concern that the plan risks ignoring the great range of contributions colleges and universities make to students’ lives, I share President Obama’s conviction that we must provide “good value to students and families, offering quality education and training that prepares graduates to obtain employment and repay their loans.”
Pace has a powerful answer to this call. We are a leader in providing an education of lasting value and preparing graduates to succeed in their professions and in their lives. On the subject of employment and loans, two examples illustrate a compelling cause and effect: the job placement rate of Pace students upon graduation is currently 12 percent higher than the national average, and, because of their strong earning power, Pace alumni have a loan default rate of just 2.4 percent, far below that of any other university in the New York Metropolitan Area.
The value we provide our students does not begin at graduation, of course. In addition to the measurable—and immeasurable—contributions that faculty make in students’ lives every day, the University has made an institutional commitment to keeping a Pace education within reach for outstanding students from every background. Last year, we provided $120 million in financial aid to students and their families—the largest non-salary expense item in our budget. During the past several years, we have worked diligently to keep tuition increases as low as possible while substantially increasing the amount of financial aid we offer.
In the coming weeks and months you will hear me talk more about the high value proposition of a Pace education and the critical contributions we can make to the future of the nation through our potent combination of the liberal arts and education for the professions. Now is truly a time for Pace.
Stephen J. Friedman