Beginning with the 2008-09 academic year, Worcester residents who are admitted to the College of the Holy Cross and who come from families with incomes below $50,000 will receive four years of free tuition.
The announcement was made recently by Holy Cross president Rev. Michael C. McFarland, S.J. “Many low-income families in Worcester do not even consider a private college education for their children because they assume it is out-of-reach,” he said. “Through this new program, we are strengthening our commitment to making a Holy Cross education available to Worcester residents who otherwise would not be able to afford it. We are delighted to extend our many partnerships with Worcester with one that will directly benefit our city’s young people.”
According to U.S. Census data, the median family income in the city of Worcester is $42,988. Holy Cross’ tuition for the 2008-09 academic year is $36,710. Standard room and board and fees bring the current comprehensive cost to $47,502 per year.
Holy Cross Senior Vice President Frank Vellaccio says the new program is a further enhancement of the College’s commitment to financial aid and the city of Worcester. “One of our key institutional priorities is to ensure that no student is denied a Holy Cross education because of his or her family’s financial situation,” he explains. “We hope this initiative will encourage more qualified Worcester students to consider Holy Cross.”
Holy Cross is “need-blind” for applicants, which means that the College reviews student admissions applications and makes decisions on which students to accept without any knowledge of the prospective student’s ability to pay for a Holy Cross education. Approximately 58 percent of all Holy Cross students receive some kind of financial aid.
Currently, 54 percent of Holy Cross’ Worcester students are eligible for Pell Grants, a federal grant program geared to students who have the most financial need. For students such as these—with the greatest need—Holy Cross will supplement free tuition with additional aid for room and board.
This new initiative was catalyzed by and now complements a number of established alumni-funded scholarship programs benefiting Worcester students. Among the most recent scholarships funded by alumni specifically for Worcester residents are the Power Family Scholarship, endowed by Worcester native James David “Dave” Power III ’53, founder of J.D. Power and Associates; and The Father Francis Xavier Seelos Scholarships. Both funds are restricted to students from Worcester, and the Seelos scholarship is restricted to students who are the first in their families to attend college or who are non-traditional students.
The tuition-free component of Holy Cross’ commitment to provide financial aid to qualified Worcester residents will cost the College at least $1.4 million.