Drexel University cuts tuition for grads

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Drexel University, which opened its graduate studies center on Sacramento’s Capitol Mall in January, plans to cut tuition in half this fall for entering graduate students who have been laid off from their jobs.

According to the graduate center’s dean and chief executive officer, Carl “Tobey” Oxholm III, the tuition reduction program aims to help the local work force prepare to rebound from the ailing economy.

“We don’t want students to leave Sacramento for another place they think the grass is greener,” he said. “We want them to stay and use the time to bone up on their skills, so they can be ready to work at the highest possible level when the economy returns.”

William Jessup University in February announced a 2.5 percent across-the-board undergraduate tuition cut beginning this fall at its Rocklin, Calif., campus, and a handful of other universities across the country have instituted similar reductions.

But Oxholm said he’s not aware of other graduate degree programs offering half-price discounts specifically for students who have already been slammed by the recession.

The Drexel discount will apply to students who enroll in the fall and have been unable to find new employment after being laid off since December 2007. Students can remain in Drexel’s “Bridge to the Future” program as long as they maintain a 3.0 average and can’t find work.

Tuition for local Drexel students varies from one graduate program to another, Oxholm said. The two-year master of business administration degree, for example, costs $47,000 without the tuition cut. The school offers other tuition breaks based on academic record.

“The Bridge program is a short-term stop-gap for issues we all face,” said Steve Gandola, president of the Sacramento Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. “But I look at this as a long-term investment.

“As the aging baby boom generation retires and moves out of the work force, it’s critical we have a high level of leadership prepared to step into the role.”

Philadelphia-based Drexel currently has 53 graduate students at its downtown center, but Oxholm said he expects fall enrollment to increase to 10 to 15 students in each of the center’s 10 master’s degree programs.

For more information about the Bridge grant program, go to www.drexel.edu/sacramento.