Avila lowers tuition, promises graduation in 4 years

Avila’s president, Dr. Ron Slepitza, announces the Avila Promise Sept. 5. (Marty Denzer/Key photo)

By Marty Denzer
Catholic Key Associate Editor

KANSAS CITY — Students, faculty and administration gathered in the Mabee Field House on the Avila University campus in south Kansas City Sept. 5 as President Ron Slepitza, Ph.D., CSJA, prepared to make a “game-changing” announcement. The mood was upbeat. As he stepped up to the podium the noise quieted.

“In an effort,” he said, “to continue the mission of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet (who founded and sponsor Avila) to respond to the dear neighbor and intentionally bring clarity and transparency to students and their families as they plan for college, beginning in the fall of 2018, the new Avila Promise will go into effect.”

The Avila Promise, a set of initiatives designed to provide students a clear, affordable path to their future, is set upon four cornerstones. They are: Lower Tuition pricing — a 33 percent reduction in the list price of tuition; Guaranteed Graduation in four years; Guaranteed Internship or Research experience, and a monetary Travel award.

The new tuition model reduces tuition from $29,900 annually to $19,900. Dr. Slepitza explained that traditional tuition pricing follows a high-price, high-discount model, Avila wanted to break the mold. “Not only are we lowering our tuition rate and moving to a new tuition model, we’re also going to protect our students’ tuition from unexpected hikes. We believe that you should expect to graduate in four years, on time, on budget and be prepared to make a difference in the world. That’s what a great university, like Avila, delivers.”

As the applause died down, Slepitiza went on to detail what the cornerstones meant to the students. Tuition: Incoming, traditional freshmen in 2018 will see the full benefit of opportunities, but all students receive a reduction in tuition under the new model. Non-resident students, including international students, will also benefit, but at a lower rate due to additional educational services costs. With financial aid and need- and merit-based scholarships, students will know the exact amount they can expect to pay each year of their degree program. And the tuition now includes the costs of books and university fees, like activity and application fees.

“We will lay out what students can expect in course fees,” Slepitza added. “Course fees can run from none to a sizeable amount, but students will know before classes start what those fees will be, so they can plan ahead.”

Slepitza also guaranteed that the tuition price each student pays will be protected from unexpected hikes, promising increases of no more than 3 percent annually over a four-year period.

The Avila Promise includes a commitment to students that, if they do their part, attending classes, completing class and coursework on time and, of course, studying, they can expect to graduate in four years. By graduating in four years, students and their families can save big bucks and start earning an income sooner.

Sue Willcox, Vice President for Student Affairs, took the explanation a step further. “By setting students on a path to complete coursework in four years, we can assist families in accurately planning for all the costs associated with the completion of their degree. In addition, when students move into graduate studies or the workforce in a timely manner, they are able to capitalize on earlier earnings and less student debt. We are deeply committed to helping Avila students along this path to their degree.”

The Avila Promise includes a guaranteed Internship or Research experience; every undergraduate student, in every major, will be engaged in an internship or research project helping them gain valuable real-world experience in their focus area. The final cornerstone, a monetary Travel award of up to $1,000 will be offered during the junior year to financially support students in getting national and global experience. It can be used toward international and national travel programs for research and other approved experiences.

“We are a global community,” Slepitza said, “and the Travel Award will add richness to a student’s degree.”

After the announcement, students were provided with specific details of the Promise and their individual tuition savings.

For more information on Avila and the Avila Promise, visit www.Avila.edu/Promise.




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September 26, 2020
The Diocese of Kansas City ~ St. Joseph