Private Colleges Remain Affordable

January 15, 2009

Mary Baldwin University Welcomes Campus Visits January 24

Dr. Fox poses with members of the Class of 2007 after recieving her honorary Mary Baldwin ringMary Baldwin University invites prospective students and parents to meet with Dr. Pamela Fox, president of the college, as well as admissions and financial aid professionals for a special WRAP Session (Within Reach and Personal) at 10 a.m. Saturday, January 24. Mary Baldwin joins 24 other undergraduate private colleges across Virginia in offering this session to deliver the message that Virginia private colleges remain within reach financially and provide a valuable, personal education. The WRAP Sessions are sponsored by the Council of Independent Colleges in Virginia (CICV).

“At Mary Baldwin our financial aid awards are made on the basis of academic potential, talent, and need. We work individually with every student to ensure her educational program is the right one and she has taken advantage of every financial resource available to her,” said Dr. Brenda Bryant, vice president for enrollment management and student life and dean of students.

    • Private colleges awarded more than $270 million in grants and scholarships last year. Many students pay considerably less than the published tuition price at private colleges. The average financial assistance package at Mary Baldwin University reduces the total tuition cost by $16,332. The difference between public and private college tuition is far less than many families assume, thanks to significant merit and need-based grants and the Virginia Tuition Assistance Grant (TAG).


    • In Virginia, private colleges enroll a higher percentage of federal Pell Grant recipients (who are typically students from families with incomes of $40,000 or less) and minority students than public colleges. Now more than ever, private colleges are protecting their financial aid budgets and enrolling students from all income levels. In fact, national studies have shown that students attending private colleges, on average, have a similar family income as those attending public colleges. Mary Baldwin University, rated as a top tier, master’s level southern university ranked in the top 25 colleges by U. S. News & World Report, has earned a reputation for making college accessible to qualified students. Mary Baldwin also celebrates and supports one of the most diverse student populations in the nation.


    • Like other private colleges, Mary Baldwin encourages parents to compare the time it takes to graduate as well as overall graduation rates, class size, student/faculty ratio, and personal attention received by students. Mary Baldwin has long enjoyed an average class size of 16.7 and a student/faculty ratio of 10 to 1. Faculty cherish a teaching-first approach and 97% of its fulltime faculty holds the highest degree in her/his area of expertise.


  • It does not appear that financial assistance from government sources will be reduced or eliminated. Governor Kaine’s proposed budget for Virginia protected funding for the undergraduate TAG award, which provides an annual grant of $3,200 to Virginia residents attending a private college in the state. Furthermore, federal loans and grants are unlikely to be affected by the recession.

“The weakening economy has not weakened the quality and value of a private college education in Virginia. We understand the financial concerns facing families. However, I would regret students not choosing the college that is the best fit for them because of anxiety about affordability. We want to help, and we urge families to talk to us first before making a final decision,” said Robert Lambeth, CICV president.

Plan to visit Mary Baldwin University in Staunton, Virginia January 24. For more information: or (540) 887-7019 or (800) 468-2262

For more information about CICV or the WRAP Sessions visit .