The Freeing Minds campaign continues to generate attention and support–a strong indication that our alumni and friends are inspired by our new philanthropy-driven financial model and see solid evidence of results.
Our endowment continues to grow.
Our endowment was relatively unscathed by the significant market downturn precipitated by the global crisis, and now stands at $178 million.
Each year, income from our endowment supplies almost one-fifth of St. John’s annual operating budget, significantly affecting the amount of aid we can offer to students. By continuing to grow our endowment through Freeing Minds, we are better positioned to offer a transformational St. John’s education to students who would not otherwise be able to enroll.
Alumni and friends led the Annual Fund to another successful year
Alumni and friends led the Annual Fund to another successful year in FY2020, raising $3 million toward a $2.9 million goal. By addressing immediate needs that range from scholarships and internships to career services and study groups, the Annual Fund ensures that we maintain our financial viability while we continue to improve the supportive scaffolding that surrounds the Program.
Our tuition remains at $35,000.
In fall 2019 we welcomed our first freshman class to benefit from a dramatic price reduction that saw our tuition drop from $52,000 to only $35,000. Consistent with our commitment to accessibility and affordability, tuition will remain frozen at $35,000 for the 2020–2021 school year.
Our ability to maintain this more affordable price structure is a direct result of support for the Freeing Minds campaign.
Our tuition isn’t the only smaller number. Our deficit is shrinking too.
Despite the financial challenges posed by the pandemic, the college met our FY20 deficit reduction goal of $1.9 million–a testament to the strength of our campaign and our philanthropy-centered financial model. To put this figure in perspective, our deficit stood at $12 million in 2016.
We’re hitting the right notes with students and families.
In a difficult environment for small colleges, our Program is showing its far-reaching appeal. Although final numbers are not yet known, both campuses are on track to meet their enrollment targets for the Class of 2024. Student interest in Santa Fe has been especially significant, with deposits topping 100 for the first time in a decade.
Both campuses also met their graduation targets for the Class of 2020 as well as retention targets. The number of students withdrawing from St. John’s this spring dropped by more than 60 percent from the four-year average.
Taken alone these results are encouraging. They become even more so when placed in the context of a global crisis that propelled already-stressed students into a wholly new educational environment. The support systems we’ve built together are making a difference.
Doors are opening wider for our highest need students.
This fall our Santa Fe campus saw a 40 percent increase in Pell student admissions as the result of a transformational $10 million campaign pledge that allows us to match a student’s Pell funding. Santa Fe’s six-year graduation rate for Pell students also rose to an impressive 87 percent, considerably higher than the previous six-year graduation rate of only 50 percent.
Federal Pell grants provide support for students in the lowest income bracket, a demographic that is likely to make up a rising percentage of St. John’s students. A substantial body of evidence indicates that Pell students have a more difficult time transitioning to college and are subsequently more likely to leave after the first year. This is especially true for first-generation students and students from underrepresented populations.
Learn how gifts to the Freeing Minds campaign have made a difference during the coronavirus crisis, as students and tutors bring the Great Conversation to bear on a new reality.
Highlights include the growth in applications and enrollment, record-breaking attendance at Summer Academy, reduction of our structural deficit, and our recognition as Four-Year College of the Year.
A look back at our transformational beginning
Prior to the public launch, the Freeing Minds campaign received many early gifts from generous donors whose exceptional commitments laid the groundwork for success. These include two lead $25-million donations from board chair Ron Fielding and campaign chair Warren Spector. Their 2016 gifts earned them two spots in The Chronicle of Philanthropy’s list of the top 50 most generous donors in America (February 2017).
In summer of 2018, the college received a truly transformational pledge—the largest gift in the history of St. John’s. Through the Winiarski Family Foundation, Alumni Warren and Barbara Winiarski created a challenge grant that is matching every gift to the Freeing Minds campaign with an equivalent gift to the St. John’s endowment—up to $50 million.