Magazine article Insight on the News

Smart Students Learn to Help Themselves by Helping Others

Magazine article Insight on the News

Smart Students Learn to Help Themselves by Helping Others

Article excerpt

Colleges and universities are developing innovative programs to control rising cost, including a number that encourage students to perform good deeds in exchange for lower tuition.

Whether they truly are interested in remaining affordable or just staying competitive in an era of shrinking budgets and rising costs, an increasing number of colleges and universities are devising creative solutions to the soaring price of higher education. While some of these innovations are untested, their mere existence signals that colleges are attempting to bring expenses under control.

Washington College, a small liberal-arts school in Chestertown, Md., has formed a partnership with the National Honor Society that provides tuition relief. Under the plan, accepted applicants who are members of the society will receive $10,000 annual awards toward tuition expenses. The only catch: Students must maintain a B average. Last fall, the institution recruited the largest freshman class in its 215-year history. More than half were National Honor Society members.

"By basing the awards on membership in the National Honor Society -- whose members are recognized for character, leadership and service, as well as academic achievement -- rather than on grade-point average or SAT scores alone, the college attracts students who are academically talented and well-rounded"' says Meredith Davies, vice president for college relations at Washington.

This fall, Hartwick College in Oneonta, N.Y, will offer students the opportunity to earn their education by assisting others. With the help of a $15,000 grant from the Frances E. Rowe Charitable Annuity Trust, Hartwick has established the first "Time Dollars" program on a college campus. Participating students will perform community service for credit toward the cost of their education.

Time Dollars is not a new idea. Established in 1988, the program encourages low-income people to undertake volunteer work in exchange for credit toward child care and other expenses. While the program has proved successful in neighborhood settings, "no other college in the country does it"' says Geneva Walker-Johnson, dean of students. "This version of the Time Dollars program is unique to Hartwick College. …

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