President’s Corner: Student success, tuition and financial aide, value of a college degree

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President’s Corner: Student success, tuition and financial aide, value of a college degree

President Sean Burrage adresses the class of 2020 at Freshman Convocation

President Sean Burrage adresses the class of 2020 at Freshman Convocation

Courtesy photo of Dan Hoke

President Sean Burrage adresses the class of 2020 at Freshman Convocation

Courtesy photo of Dan Hoke

Courtesy photo of Dan Hoke

President Sean Burrage adresses the class of 2020 at Freshman Convocation

President Sean Burrage

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In today’s column, I want to address three important issues: Student Success, Tuition/Financial Aid, and the Value of a College Degree.

Student Success

Defining student success is a very personal process. Every student (and his/her circumstances) is different and unique; therefore, success/goals vary from student-to-student.

If you are enrolled in college, your basic goal is to earn a degree, make a living, and be a productive member of society. The level of success is up to you. While in school, others may judge you by your grade-point average or other accomplishments, but remember, you need to set your own expectations.

So how do you achieve the success of earning that degree?

Every year, when I speak to the incoming class of freshmen at convocation, I offer the following tips:

  • Go to class. It’s like those drawings for prizes where you must be present to win. Likewise, you must be present to learn.
  • Interact with your professors and fellow students.
  • Get involved on campus through an activity or club. Explore leadership opportunities.
  • Broaden your circle of friends. Southeastern is a diverse campus community — take advantage of the many cultural opportunities here.
  • Learn the importance of “giving back’’ through community service.

Southeastern is unique in many ways. For instance, did you know?…

  • Each year, about 50% of our graduates are first-generation college graduates, the first in their families to earn a degree.
  • The “average’’ age of our students is 25.8.
  • We have students from 38 states and several countries. The most students enrolled by state are, in order, Oklahoma, Texas, Arkansas, and California. Mexico, Nepal, and China provide the greatest number of our international student population.
  • 30% of our students are Native American.

 

Tuition/Financial Aid

Due to a significant reduction in our state funding, we increased our tuition/mandatory fees 8 percent this year. We hope to offset much of that increase but putting more dollars into our scholarship programs.

Currently, 85% of Southeastern students receive some form of financial aid.

Even with the tuition increase, Oklahoma remains one of the most affordable states in the nation when it comes to higher education.

Value of a College Degree

Finally, I think it is important that we understand the value of a college degree and the financial implications.

In 2014, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual income for an individual with a bachelor’s degree was $57,252, compared to $34,736 for a person with a high school diploma.

Over a lifetime, a bachelor’s degree holder will earn $1.1 million more than an individual with a high school diploma.

In other words, looking at the big picture, making sacrifices in the short-term will benefit you in the long-term.