With the end of the semester rapidly approaching, many students don’t realize that the last 48 days spent on campus are symbollically tuition-free. Because there is a gap between the the cost of operation of Gustavus and the income made from tuition, this last section of the school year runs free for students thanks to donations.
According to Administrator William Johnson, Freedom From Tuition is “the point in the academic year that the Gustavus annual fund and earnings from the endowment cover the cost for students.”
The fund itself is supported by alumni, parents of students past and present, friends of the college and institutions. Donations are either specified or non-restricted. Student scholarships are made a priority within the non-restricted funding. Next year’s goal for the annual fund is 4.5 million dollars, out of which 2.5 million dollars would be available for scholarships.
Gustavus is not alone in its reliance on donors. Other schools are also implementing freedom from tuition segments in their school year.
“It’s becoming more common because schools, particularly liberal arts schools, are trying to educate their student populations about philanthropy,” Johnson said.
Gustavus celebrated Freedom From Tuition Day on Monday April 16 with free cake for students. It was a way to celebrate the support of donors and educate the campus on how the college operates.
“I had no idea what Freedom From Tuition Day was,” Sophomore Maggie King said.
Educating students about where tuition goes is exactly the goal of Freedom From Tuition Day.
“We want to bring to light the fact that tuition only covers a portion of the cost of operation,” Johnson said.
“I didn’t know about Freedom From Tuition,” Junior Adam Youngs said. “I never really gave it much thought that tuition wouldn’t be able to cover the cost of operation.”
Gustavus hopes not only to educate students, but to also inspire them to donate in the future.
“We hope to instill a sense of philanthropy in students so that when they graduate they understand the impact of their donations,” Johnson said.