The St. Thomas graduate school’s enrollment shrank almost 9 percent from last year.
According to the Office of Institutional Effectiveness, the graduate schools saw a 387 student drop, which it believes was due to raised tuition during the economic recession. However, the success of the Opening Doors capital campaign will offer more scholarship money and potentially attract more students to the programs.
Lisa Guyott, marketing director for the Opus College of Business, said the graduate program will receive $36 million for financial aid compared to the undergraduate’s $106.5 million allotment.
“The campaign shows students that we have a great deal of support,” Guyott said. “Tuition remissions have decreased dramatically, and increased scholarships should increase interest (in St. Thomas programs).”
The money will be divided among the seven graduate colleges, but the amount each college receives will be based on enrollment. However, the financial plan specifies that centers for the graduate programs will also receive funding.
The Terrence J. Murphy Institute for Catholic Thought, Law and Public Policy will receive $2.5 million, and $3.9 million will go toward the Opus College of Business’ Center for Ethical Business Cultures. Additionally, the School of Law will receive an additional $8.6 million from the campaign.
First-year law student Kasey Buchmiller said the fund increase will undoubtedly attract students and raise enrollment numbers, citing that the Opening Doors capital campaign proves to students that the school will support them through their education.
“St. Thomas provided a great financial aid package, and that was one of the main reasons that I decided to enroll in its law school,” Buchmiller said.
Sophomore Ryan Smith said he is interested in a graduate program and the potential scholarships would cause him to consider St. Thomas more seriously in the future.
“Both undergraduate and graduate education are expensive, and if I can stay with St. Thomas and the costs can be cut down with these scholarships, then it would be a great option,” Smith said.
Guyott also mentioned that more scholarship funds might allow the university to reach out to students in markets that the graduate school has not previously had a strong turnout from, such as the international student market.
“We would love to see different kinds of students on our campuses and add to that diversity,” Guyott said.
Anastasia Straley can be reached at email@example.com.