The time has come for colleges to make a transformational change around affordability, and St. John’s is taking the lead in redefining the financial model for the liberal arts.

Our solution is simple but powerful: replace a tuition-driven financial model, one that persistently alienates and excludes, with a more durable and sustainable model that is centered on philanthropy.

Our first step was to lower our tuition to $35,000.

To combat prestige pricing, we reduced our published price by one-third, eliminating more than a decade of increases and instantly breaking down one of the biggest barriers to admission. Our new published price more closely reflects the actual amount that a student can expect to pay and better aligns with our core value of offering an honest education at an honest price.

In fall 2019 we welcomed our first freshman class to benefit from this dramatic price reduction.

Dollar Sign Growth Infographic

Our tuition reset, although significant and necessary, was only the first step. The fact remains that the distinctive education that St. John’s offers is still expensive. Even with our lower tuition price, the majority of St. John’s students require financial assistance, and this need will almost certainly grow.  Demographic statistics indicate that a rapidly rising percentage of our students will come from lower-income households, and many will be the first in their families to attend college.

We must solve the problem of maintaining our more affordable price structure and preserving our financial health while still providing meaningful support for students with financial need.

To do this, St. John’s launched Freeing Minds: A Campaign for St. John’s College.

This $300 million campaign will add $200 million to our endowment, provide $50 million to maintain our financial viability and vitality, and ensure $50 million in essential improvements on both campuses. 

St. John’s Endowment » Goal: $200 million

The St. John’s endowment is the centerpiece of our new philanthropy-driven financial model and the foremost objective of the Freeing Minds campaign. By providing a steady, reliable, and enduring stream of revenue, our endowment reduces our dependence on tuition and eases the burden carried by students and their families.

The addition of $200 million to the endowment will more than double its size, eventually infusing an additional $10 million annually into the operating budget of the college.

Financial Stability » Goal: $50 million

While our endowment is the mainstay of our future, the college still needs a firm financial base from which to operate in the present. The answer lies with the expansion of our Annual Fund, particularly the Fund for St. John’s. By addressing immediate needs that range from scholarships and internships to support services and study groups, the Annual Fund ensures that we maintain our financial viability while we continue to improve the scaffolding that surrounds the Program.

Campus Improvements » Goal: $50 million

Unlike many of our peers, we aren’t participating in the arms race to build increasingly elaborate facilities. Instead, the campaign will focus on essential improvements, which have significant implications for the safety of our campus and the quality of the residential experience.

Freeing Minds is preserving the essence of what makes St. John’s so very distinct.

The Freeing Minds campaign is as different from the campaigns of other schools as our Program is from their educational offerings. This is not an effort aimed at the big, the expensive, and the unnecessary. It is the fuel for continuing the Great Conversation. It allows future Johnnies with the courage and fortitude to engage the Program, regardless of financial need, to sit around the seminar table in a Johnnie chair and learn in a way that is unlike any other classroom in America. It also allows the college to preserve and continue its distinctive Graduate Institute programs in the Liberal Arts and the Eastern Classics for future GI Johnnies. It allows St. John’s to continue to free minds.

A bold vision and a courageous plan. An ambitious campaign predicated on a new financial model and an extraordinary challenge grant.

A truly transformational pledge—the largest gift in the history of St. John’s—has allowed us to set a goal for the campaign that was previously inconceivable.

Alumni Warren and Barbara Winiarski created a challenge grant from the Winiarski Family Foundation, matching every gift dollar for dollar—up to $50 million dollars— with an equivalent contribution to the St. John’s endowment.

The Freeing Minds campaign, bolstered by this visionary gift, will help keep our distinctive education affordable and accessible to all who seek it, ensuring the future of St. John’s College for many generations to come.