The future of financial aid

Editorial Board

It may surprise you to know that 40 percent of students at Villanova do not receive any financial aid. It may shock you that only 78 percent of general financial need is met. You may even be angry that the reason for those numbers and our general lack of financial aid is that over Villanova’s 166-year history, the majority of our $360 million endowment has been raised only in the last 30 years.

“Our peer institutions began fundraising a generation before Villanova did,” says Ken Valosky, vice president for Administration and Finance. “Villanova, until now, has had a very reticent approach to fundraising. However, it is now more of a necessity for us in order to keep tuition lower than the cost of providing the education.”

In the last 20 years, this school has experienced unprecedented change. The administration, faculty and students are more dedicated to excellence with every passing year. We have a number of nationally ranked academic programs and participate in Division I athletics. We’ve begun or completed construction on three new facilities in the last three years, and each freshman class is more talented than the next. So how have we risen to such prominence alongside our peer institutions – namely Boston College, Richmond and Lehigh – which boast billion-plus endowments when we haven’t even reached the halfway point? And how do we proceed from here?

The answer to both of these questions is planning. “Father Peter’s mantra has always been, ‘We can’t go from issue to issue; we need to plan,'” Valosky says. As you walk unsuspectingly to your 8:30 a.m. class each morning, there are a myriad of plans occurring simultaneously that aim to evaluate not only the financial aid system but the University as a whole. Aside from the Campus Master Plan, which will alter the physical aspect of the campus, the Office of Enrollment Management is working on a review of financial aid, the results of which will be released this fall. A more long-term strategic plan, which has been commissioned to an outside consulting group, is also coming to a close and will evaluate the long-term vision of the University academically, administratively and financially.

So when it comes to financial aid, there’s good news and bad news. Bad news: For the students now, although the endowment and financial aid system is improving, you probably won’t see many of the tangible benefits. Good news: With the help of these plans, Villanova will be more affordable and even more successful place in the next 10 years.