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THE GREAT GIFT OF A MUHLENBERG EDUCATION

While college is a major investment today--especially a highly selective, highly personalized private college--no student or family undertakes paying the cost of a college education alone.

It has been said that each generation stands on the shoulders of giants--that is, the way to the future is always paved, to some extent, by those who have gone before. That is certainly true of the challenge of paying for higher education.

While the return on the "investment" in a college education is substantial (at least $500,000 in increased earning potential over the course of one's career and growing according to the U.S. Department of Labor), for many families and students, the college investment involves real sacrifices. Family lifestyles change in ways that are real and inescapable while a child is going through college.

Yet the surprising truth is that no student pays the full cost of education. In fact, even students who are not receiving a single penny of financial aid are not paying the full cost of the college educational experience. All students are truly "standing on the shoulders of giants" as recipients of a great gift from previous generations.

In Muhlenberg's case, the equation breaks down approximately like this: This past year's total charges for tuition, room, board and fees were $26,700. That is not a small number. However, if our students were charged full price for what it actually costs to educate them for that same one-year period, each would have paid a total of $33,950!

In effect, every student attending Muhlenberg receives an automatic discount of $7,250 from the true cost of this experience. Even if a family is paying full price for a Muhlenberg education, it is only paying 79 percent of the full cost. The remaining 21 percent is generated through fundraising initiatives and income from the College's endowment. Those students who will receive Muhlenberg College grant aid on average pay only 48 percent of the full cost. Again, the remaining 52 percent comes from the generosity of others.

Without these funds, a higher cost for the Muhlenberg experience or a compromise in this quality education would result. Thus, all Muhlenberg students are the recipients of a "great gift" from previous generations, whether they receive financial aid or not. Every Muhlenberg student benefits directly from the generosity and loyalty of those who have gone before.

Through the Muhlenberg learning experience, we are giving our students the opportunity to become good citizens with values and to enhance their strength of character. The Muhlenberg community is proud to nurture and launch young, intelligent people of integrity who will be the giants of the next generation.

Whatever the cost of this experience, each student is held in affectionate regard and friendship by all of us, for we are the Caring College.


Arthur R. Taylor

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