The Value of a Western New England University Education: Thoughts to Consider
These are troubling economic times, and here at Western New England University we know that many families are struggling to meet the goal of sending their children to college. Each week we all read another article, or see yet another news story, about the rising costs of a private college or university education, often with the conclusion that families are increasingly looking to public higher education for the solution. It is the responsibility of private colleges and universities, and our responsibility here at Western New England, to make the case for a private university education. To be clear, we remain committed to delivering the highest quality educational experience in the most cost-effective way possible. At Western New England University, we readily accept this obligation. Only by assuring you about the value of a Western New England education can we continue to thrive as an institution dedicated to the success of all our future, current, and past students.
Although every institution of higher education will offer you the standard assurance that ‘students come first,’ you should ask the question: “Just what does that mean?” After all, every brick-and-mortar campus has classrooms, committed faculty, laboratories, and libraries. What makes one different from another? At Western New England University focus on the individual student is demonstrated in meaningful and visible ways—ways that you will see the first time you visit campus and that you will come to appreciate even more as you continue to learn about us.
We are not large, but we are mighty. As one of only a handful of institutions in the country with fewer than 5,000 students—and yet having the highest levels of accreditation in business, engineering, law, and social work (and soon pharmacy)—Western New England students have the educational opportunities usually offered only at much larger and impersonal campuses—whether public or private. Here no student is ever just a face in the crowd. Our individualized approach to education includes a profound commitment to small class sizes, personalized student-faculty relationships, student engagement, and personal growth both within and beyond the classroom. We strive to create a sense of belonging from the first time a prospective student sets foot on our campus by treating every individual as a valued member of our community with a shared sense of purpose. Why? Because we know that a sense of community, of belonging, is as important to student success as faculty and library resources. Importantly, many of our faculty and staff have grown and developed with the University, and we provide an environment that encourages them to do so. We take pride in the fact that our alumni will continue to be aided by many of the same faculty and staff they knew as students, even as we have continued to grow, expand, and flourish.
All campuses provide seats in the classroom. At Western New England University, students are offered a seat in a lifelong learning community, which will continue to nurture them long after their days on the campus are past. And our graduates leave our campus as globally educated citizens, wise not just in academic learning but also in the skills that make good citizens, good employees and employers, and well-rounded individuals.
We have outstanding faculty and staff who demonstrate every day an extraordinary commitment to our mission and to our students. Our accreditations require, and our dedication to professional development encourages, that our faculty be active in research and publishing while maintaining teaching as a priority. As a result, our faculty members are known as professionals at the forefront of their disciplines.
See for yourself how we take care of the University, our employees, and the campus and you will begin to understand how we take care of our students. Take a tour of the newly renovated Herman Hall or the recently completed Center for the Sciences and Pharmacy and you will see our continuing commitment to providing the highest level of available classroom technologies in the Arts and Sciences, Pre-pharmacy, and Pharmacy. Ask about the upcoming renovation and expansion of Sleith Hall and the addition of the trading room to Churchill Hall and you will discover our dedication to providing Engineering and Business students with state-of-the-art resources. Our recently renovated School of Law is also state of the art.
Still, learning outside of the classroom is also essential to becoming well-rounded individuals, and there is truly something for everyone. Learning Beyond the Classroom is a requirement, not just an idea, at Western New England University. We work with a network of over 1,500 businesses and organizations where students can do field work, conduct engineering design projects, student teach, or participate in internships. Remembering the need to nurture both the mind and the body, we offer a broad range of cocurricular activities—whether the 19 varsity sports programs, intramurals, study abroad, or the more than 60 student activity clubs, all offer students opportunities for learning the leadership, team, and problem-solving skills essential to being successful adults. Students are continually encouraged within and outside the classroom to aim high and to remember that the effort in doing so is often more important to future success than any success at the time.
However, we know that even as you come to appreciate the value of a Western New England University education, you may remain concerned about cost. Be fully informed. For most students attending private institutions, the total of tuition, fees, room, and board is offset by scholarships and grants to a substantial degree. Don’t be shocked at what institutions advertise as their “sticker price.” Learn what your actual costs will be before making a decision about what is right for you. At Western New England, we offer both merit and need-based aid to more than 95 percent of new students—often meaning that the actual cost of attendance may be lower than other private institutions with smaller advertised prices or comparable to public institutions. We know that navigating the world of financial aid is complicated, and we are here to help you. All admitted students who have completed a FAFSA will receive information about their Western New England University financial aid awards in a timely way, allowing comparison to awards they may have received from other institutions when weighing the value of a Western New England education against other possibilities.
The faculty, staff, and students of Western New England University are ready to help you make the best educational decision possible. We trust, and we know, that you will see us for what we are—a great educational value and an outstanding university.
Anthony S. Caprio
President, Western New England University