Fairfield University announces Bridgeport Tuition Plan for students with family incomes under $50,000


Image: Bridgeport Mayor Bill Finch and Rev. Jeffrey von Arx,S.J.
From L-R: Rev. Jeffrey von Arx, S.J., Mayor Bill Finch, Dr. John Ramos-Spt. Bridgeport public schools, and Dr. Margaret Dames-Spt. of Bridgeport Catholic schools.

Rev. Jeffrey von Arx, S.J., president of Fairfield University, announced today that beginning with the upcoming academic year (2008-09) all high school students with annual family incomes under $50,000 who graduate from public and diocesan schools located in the City of Bridgeport, and who are admitted to Fairfield University, will qualify for a full tuition scholarship. The Bridgeport Tuition Plan applies to students attending any of the seven high schools in Bridgeport, including Bassick, Harding, Central, Bullard-Havens, Kolbe Cathedral, Bridge Academy and Bridgeport International Academy.

In making the announcement from the conference room of Bridgeport Mayor Bill Finch in City Hall Annex, Fr. von Arx said the initiative is "not only close to my heart, but one that lies at the very foundation of Jesuit educational tradition." Fr. von Arx said that student financial assistance was among the highest institutional priorities and efforts would continue to increase aid by building the endowment. He indicated that currently 25% of Fairfield's students have family household incomes of $50,000 or less.

In addition to the Mayor, he was joined by Dr. John J. Ramos, superintendent of schools for the City of Bridgeport, and Dr. Margaret Dames, superintendent of schools for the Diocese of Bridgeport.

Mayor Finch said, "I thank Fr. von Arx and Fairfield University for extending this opportunity to the Bridgeport community. Bridgeport has some of the best students in the state and they have the right to attend college regardless of their socioeconomic situation. They have a lot to offer Fairfield University and the professional world beyond it, and because of the university's proximity to Bridgeport, I encourage all Bridgeport students to apply and take full advantage of the financial and academic benefits from this first-rate, four year university. A number of our City leaders, including City Council President Tom McCarthy and City Councilman Angel DePara, graduated from Fairfield University and I'm sure we'll see more local leaders emerging from this great institution in the future."

Since 1999, Fairfield has worked closely with Bridgeport high schools through the Community Partnership Scholarship Program, which provides one student from each of four partnering schools with a full tuition scholarship each year. There are currently 19 Bridgeport students enrolled in the University through this program. This program is also being expanded to provide additional scholarships to eligible students.

Dr. Ramos commented, "This tuition plan graciously donated by Fairfield University, coupled with our mission statement, 'to graduate all students college ready and prepared to succeed in life,' will give our children the resources and an essential action plan to know they can and will succeed in college. We are excited that through this partnership our future leaders will have the opportunity to concentrate on their academics and not let the expense of college tuition be a burden. This investment in our students will send a profound message throughout our community and make a difference in the lives of our students and their families."

Dr. Dames called the scholarship "phenomenal extensions of the University's high academics" and said, "We are thrilled that Fairfield University will be offering our students this wonderful opportunity." She also spoke of the special teacher education partnership that was established in 2004 between the Diocese of Bridgeport and Fairfield University which has "enhanced the academic offerings for our teachers and our students.

Fairfield's Bridgeport Tuition Plan is for undergraduate, full-time students who apply early action or regular decision. Their applications will go through the standard admission process. Once accepted, students may live at home or on campus. Depending upon individual circumstances, students may qualify for additional funds to cover fees, room and board and other expenses.

Fairfield University was founded in 1942 with the aim of providing a quality, liberal arts education to the children of immigrants. Through the years, the University has continued that commitment to offer an education to qualified students regardless of their ability to pay. Over the past three years Fairfield has increased its financial aid budget by 33 percent and currently provides grants (money that students are not required to pay back) that total 44 percent of a typical aid package as compared to a national average of 21 percent. The Bridgeport Tuition Plan is a key component of Fairfield University's commitment to provide access to students of all backgrounds and to increase diversity on campus.

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Media Contact: Nancy Habetz, (203) 254-4000, ext. 2647, nhabetz@fairfield.edu

Posted on March 31, 2008

Vol. 40, No. 224