November 21, 2013
The past few months have been a whirlwind of activity at Hillsdale College. As the dust begins to settle, I write today to share the latest news about Hillsdale happenings both on campus and beyond. Already we have marked this semester with the launching of the Rebirth of Liberty and Learning Campaign, two CCA seminars, numerous receptions and luncheons, as well as Kirby Center events, including a mini-Hostel in Washington, D.C., to name a few. All of this good work is to raise awareness about Hillsdale College and its students while inculcating in audiences a sense of the importance of restoring the Constitution as the foundation of American liberty.
As I walked through campus the other day on my way to lunch in the student cafeteria, it is clear that our ambition to excel as staff and faculty is inspired by the students who study and grow into adulthood here at Hillsdale College. To be an integral part of their path to maturity is both an honor and a privilege. I am reminded of this when a student stops by my office to talk, or as I work with students who participate in the HOST volunteer program. I hope that you plan on visiting campus soon, since I think we could all use a dose of the encouragement that comes from being around the outstanding students, faculty, and staff at Hillsdale College.
A Freshman Class that is a Cut Above
The marked maturity of the entering freshman class brings back memories of when I was a freshman student at Hillsdale. Frankly, I see few similarities between the shy and scared college freshman that I was then and today’s entering freshman. Each year the freshman students seem better prepared for the academic and social challenges that will mark their four years as undergraduates. The following profile of the Class of 2017 highlights the freshman students’ qualifications as well as their demographics:
- Forty-one percent of entering students have attended private or parochial schools, while 13 percent are homeschooled, and five percent are transfer students.
- The entering class carried an average 3.81 high school grade-point and averaged 29 on the ACT test and 1980 on the SAT.
- Nearly 100 percent of the entering class graduated in the top 50 percent of their high school senior class and 56 percent were in the top ten percent of their graduating class. There are 16 freshmen who are National Merit Finalists.
- Just under 70 percent of freshman students are from states other than Michigan.The Class of 2017 represents 38 states and nine foreign countries. Countries represented by the overall student body include Kenya, Germany, Bulgaria, Belgium, India, and Norway.
- The entering class is made up of 371 incoming students consisting of 174 men and 197 women.
- The acceptance rate for this year’s entering class was 48 percent. Of that accepted group, 38 percent enrolled at Hillsdale College this fall. The freshman class was selected from a pool of 2,060 applicants.
Should you know of potential Hillsdale College students, please encourage them to visit campus during the academic year. Prospective student visits are arranged by the Admissions Office and include opportunities to attend classes, join other students for meals in the cafeteria, and stay overnight in a dormitory. You may send information such as name, address, and year of graduation to the Admissions Office by contacting Margret Braman, by postal mail to the attention of Jeff Lantis, Admissions Director at the Hillsdale College address, or phone the Admissions Office directly at (517) 607-2227.
As the College continues to attract the best and brightest students to campus, we appreciate your help in steering promising high school students our way.
50 Classical Charter Schools by 2022
During the past year, Director of the Barney Classical Charter School Initiative Phil Kilgore and Professors Terrence Moore and Daniel Coupland have given presentations to audiences across the country. The hot-button topic is the ongoing worsening crisis in American education and the nationwide roll-out of a standardized curriculum called the “Common Core.” The following excerpt of a speech delivered at the Kirby Center by Dr. Coupland, entitled Common Core, Common Sense, Why It’s Illiberal and Unconstitutional, sums up the crisis at hand:
The Common Core will now provide the framework for what students learn in math and English language arts and also establish two federally funded and approved tests that will replace what states currently use to measure students’ academic success. In order to survive the Common Core era, textbook publishers and other education-related industries must show how their materials meet these national standards. SAT and ACT are now aligned to the Common Core. Those who think they can avoid the Common Core by sending their children to private schools or by homeschooling should think again. The Iowa Tests of Basic Skills and the Stanford 10—two popular tests of private schools and homeschool parents—will also be aligned to the Common Core.
Given this federal insistence on what our children learn, it is no surprise that individual states must agree to adopt the Common Core or in refusing to do so effectively lose millions of dollars of federal taxpayer monies. The Common Core is yet another move that strengthens the trend of vocationally training children rather than gifting them with the intellectual freedom and character building afforded by a classical liberal arts education. So what actions are parents of young children taking to counter this darkening national educational scene? One of the answers is that they are banding together in a movement that harkens back to frontier days. Concerned parents are forming their own classical liberal arts charter schools.
The Barney Classical Charter School Initiative was established to assist with this task by fostering classical charter schools based on liberal learning and civic education. The funds from the Barney Initiative are used toward charter school seminars, principal search and education, workshops for new charter school principals, teacher training, an on-campus classical school job fair, and charter school visits. The goal of the initiative is to help 50 charter schools to become established by the year 2022.
It is a delight to report that the first two schools that opened under the guidance of the charter school initiative are thriving. In fact, the fall 2013 enrollment of the Founders Classical Academy in Lewisville, Texas, stands at 720 students enrolled in the K-11 levels, with seven Hillsdale alumni hired as teachers. The Estancia Valley Classical Academy in Moriarty, New Mexico, welcomed 351 students in grades K-11, and four Hillsdale alumni are on the faculty.
This year two more classical schools opened under the Barney Initiative’s guidance. Namely, the Savannah Classical Academy in Savannah, Georgia, with 322 students enrolled in grades K-6.
Also this fall, the Northwest Arkansas Classical Academy in Bentonville, Arkansas, opened with an enrollment of 410 students at the K-8 grade levels, and six Hillsdale alumni as teachers. In further good news, the following locations have cleared the first hurdle of an approved charter:
- Naples, Florida
- Atlanta, Georgia
- Leander, Texas
- Las Vegas, Nevada
- Palm Bay, Florida
For further information on the classical charter school movement, you may contact Phil Kilgore at (517) 607-2607 or e-mail email@example.com. To view a video of Dr. Coupland’s speech on the Common Core, click here.
Moving Ahead to Save Our Country—One Mind at a Time
The dates of October 9 and 10 marked the official launch of the Rebirth of Liberty and Learning Campaign. Over 720 guests, including 438 President’s Club members, 22 Hillsdale College Trustees, and 31 scholarship sponsors, attended the two days of gala festivities. Guest speakers included the President of the Czech Republic Václav Klaus and columnist George Will.
The Rebirth of Liberty and Learning Campaign is destined to build upon the success of the recently completed Founders Campaign. The goals of the new campaign are at once lofty and imminently achievable. The following is an overview of the valuable components that when added together equal the $470,200,000 fundraising goal of the Rebirth of Liberty and Learning Campaign. The capital portion of the campaign’s goal is to raise $50,745,000 for renovation and construction of facilities such as the following:
- Renovation of the Dow Hotel and Conference Center will include refurbishing of the hotel rooms, welcome center, conference rooms, and lower lobby.
- Renovation and expansion of Curtiss Dining Hall and Phillips Auditorium in the new Searle Center will consist of a two-level expansion of dining and auditorium space.
- Extensive renovations will take place in the Knorr Student Center, which houses the computer labs, Academic Services, Career Services, Information Technology Services, and the recording studio.
- Refurbishing of the College’s 12 dormitories will include installment of new windows, flooring, remodeled restrooms and showers, and refurbished rooms and corridors.
- Installation of a fiber optic network will enable the recording of on-campus events for live Internet streaming, interactive classroom instruction, and broadcasting to television and radio networks.
- The Roche Sports Complex is in the midst of being renovated in three phases, which includes new hardwood basketball courts (completed this summer) on the first level and second-level construction of locker rooms, dance studios, a climbing wall, and a café and smoothie bar along with a new entrance from the lobby into the arena.
- New faculty offices will be developed in several campus buildings, since Hillsdale’s expanded core will require 13 new professors to teach new courses in the humanities, natural sciences, and social sciences.
The lion’s share of the $334,310,000 endowment goal, or $157 million, is slated for the worthy cause of endowing undergraduate scholarships. The endowment of the 13 above-mentioned faculty chairs, key to the expansion of the core curriculum, will amount to $46.8 million. Next on the list of endowment priorities is $45 million earmarked for the College’s infrastructure, which includes support of all academic programs, library acquisitions, Imprimis, and other College publications, as well as maintenance of the physical plant. An even $20 million is allotted toward endowing the Kirby Center in Washington, D.C. The newly named Van Andel Graduate School of Statesmanship will account for $7.68 million toward graduate school operations and just over $16 million is slated for graduate school scholarship endowment. In addition, the Barney Classical Charter School Initiative’s future will be secured with a $15 million endowment. Please keep in mind that the Board of Trustees fiscal policy allows five percent annual disbursement from endowments.
In the arena of athletics, the Margot V. Biermann Athletic Center will be endowed with $3.2 million for operations and maintenance. Also in the field of sports, the John Anthony Halter Shooting Sports Education Center carries a goal of $1.8 million for the Shooting Sports Club and team programs and $3 million to be divided between Shooting Sports Scholarships, academic instruction, and the newly created range master position, as well as $1.76 million for operations and maintenance.
A substantial part of the campaign is the $85 million targeted for general operations between 2012-2018. For complete details on the many components of the Rebirth of Liberty and Learning Campaign, please contact Denise Willard for a brochure at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone (517) 607-2565.
Waging the Financial Aid Battle in Higher Education
In the Wall Street Journal interview with Richard Vedder on The Real Reason College Costs So Much published this past August, the rising costs of a college education are tied to a massive rise in government subsidies in the form of grants and loans to students. For instance, taxpayers are now the guarantors of nearly $1 trillion in student loans. These loans are forgivable should the graduate obtain a government or non-profit job. This is no small detail, when one considers that the average student graduates with $26,000 in loan debt, and that those with advanced degrees commonly owe six-figure balances on their loans. In short, federal subsidies have allowed institutions of higher learning to raise the roof when it comes to tuition and fees, since the market is artificially inflated by an annual booster shot of taxpayer monies. So the question arises: How does Hillsdale College not only survive but thrive without the aid of federal taxpayer monies
One way of competing for top students is by keeping tuition levels low—so low that Hillsdale College represents a “bargain” in today’s market. Take this year as an example. The overall cost for a student to attend Hillsdale College this year will be $31,890, which includes tuition of $22,250. Meanwhile the actual net cost of a Hillsdale education amounts to over $50,000 per student. We are able to “make up the difference” through the enthusiastic partnership of friends like you.
In the past 29 years Hillsdale College has replaced over $95 million in federal aid through the Student Independence Grant and Loan Fund (SIGLF), which issues need-based grants and loans. For example, Hillsdale Tradition Awards, which combine both work and volunteer components, amount to just over $1.9 million for this academic year or a total of $21.5 million since 1985. Hillsdale Independence Grants (which replace Pell Grants) are estimated to top $750,000 this year for a grand total of $16 million since the SIGLF program’s 1985 inception.
As a further overview of the financial aid program at Hillsdale, consider the academic year of 2012-13 when all forms of student financial aid at Hillsdale College totaled just over $21 million. Of that amount $18.3 million consisted of endowed and annually donated merit-based scholarships as well as budgeted scholarships such as athletic awards. At least 94 percent of Hillsdale students received some form of financial aid in 2012-13, of whom 43 percent qualified for need-based aid. The average financial aid package amounted to $15,720 per student, which includes gift aid average of $13,377 and loans of $2,343. Family contributions amount to an average of $20,000 per student each academic year. Members of the Class of 2013 graduated this past May with an average of $24,128 in student loan debt. Over half that amount, or $14,900, was loaned by the Independence Grant and Loan Fund and/or the Independence Loan Supplement. As the federally funded default rate on student loans exceeds the delinquency rates for all consumer debt, the default rate at Hillsdale College loan program hovers between one and two percent.
With the glut of federal subsidies in the form of scholarships and grants, it is necessary to compete for America’s finest students with a battery of tools—including attractive financial aid packages and one of the best and toughest liberal arts core curriculums in the country. The focus ahead will be on funding Hillsdale Tradition Awards and Independence Fund Replacement Grants for need-based aid. For further information on scholarships and grants at Hillsdale College, please contact John Cervini at email@example.com or phone (517) 607-2670.
The Dawn of a New Age of Learning: Hillsdale College Online
I think you will agree that Hillsdale College’s core curriculum merits being shared across the nation—if not the world. An excellent means of disseminating the College’s wealth of knowledge may be found at Hillsdale College Online. Hillsdale College’s online courses described below are free and not-for-credit and share the same format with ten weeks of 40-minute lectures. Each of the lectures is archived for later viewing, and is complemented by suggested readings, study guides, discussion boards, quizzes, and question-and-answer sessions.
Over 250,000 individuals have registered for one or more of the online courses since their inception in September, 2011. This translates into a total of 750,000 registrations for the five online courses. The online courses began with a five-part introduction to the Constitution taught by President Larry Arnn. Since then, two courses on the Constitution have been made available online as well as two history courses. The rapid progress with online courses continues apace with the release in September of Economics 101: The Principles of Free Market Economics. The introductory and concluding lectures are taught by President Arnn while the core of eight lectures is taught by William E. Simon Professor of Economics and Public Policy Gary Wolfram. The course content explores the relationship between supply and demand, the problems with central planning, and the rise of Keynesian macroeconomics as well as the financial crisis of 2008. The textbook for this course is Dr. Wolfram’s latest book, A Capitalist Manifesto. Excerpts of this book appear as readings for each of the course’s eight core lectures by Dr. Wolfram. I encourage you to register—it’s easy and quick—at online.hillsdale.edu.We continue to hear from individuals across the country as they organize adult and youth study groups focused on Hillsdale’s online courses, as well as praises for the online courses from individuals seeking to increase their knowledge of the principles of liberty. For further information on the funding of these important projects, please contact John Cervini at (517) 607-2670 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
A Dazzling Array of Hillsdale College Events in 2013-2014
Hillsdale College events have taken place far and wide this semester. In fact, approximately 29 events are scheduled for the spring of 2014. Given this dazzling array of choices, please check the following updated events listing to see if some of the dates will work with your schedule. Also, if you are considering booking the cruise from Istanbul to Athens via Jerusalem July 29-August 8, 2014, now would be a good time to make a decision since cabins on the Regent Seven Seas Mariner are selling quickly. Featured speakers include Larry Arnn, Victor Davis Hanson, Stephen Hayes, Karen Elliott House, and George Gilder. For more information call (877) 242-6397.
In this electronic age it is important to keep your e-mail address current. If you have a new e-mail address, or wish to be added to our e-mail invitation lists, please send your preferred e-mail address to email@example.com. You are welcome to share your invitations with family and friends. Please check with the appropriate office first (listed on the back of the events schedule) and make sure that space is available. It has been a joy to see many of you already this semester. I look forward to future visits in 2014!
Fueled by a Passion for Excellence
Hillsdale students’ thirst for knowledge continues unabated, fueled by a passion for excellence instilled during childhood and fostered by their extended College family. It seems Hillsdale students are being educated to fight the intellectual and moral battle to live a decent, productive life without government interference at every turn—in short, a fight for liberty. It is our mutual hope that these promising young people will have what it takes to turn this ship around and head us back to the shores of sanity in America.
As winter winds bluster, it is clear that we have earned a holiday and a hiatus from the mayhem of popular culture. I hope you know that every day here at Hillsdale College we give thanks for friends such as you as well as for students who make the impossible seem feasible and the faculty who teach them. I wish you and yours a very Merry Christmas that harkens back to a simpler time and our shared heritage.
Kathleen Ruddy, '82
Director of Associates & Special Projects