Applications pour in despite economy

The faltering economy makes Temple an attractive, affordable option for prospective students, but academics still come first for hopeful Owls.

In today’s unstable economy, choosing what to invest in may be a difficult decision.

However, with the cost of college tuition increasing and the average family’s savings account depleting, prospective students and their parents are looking toward schools that offer more for less.

Upperclassmen Owl Ambassadors have seen the number of prospective students who tour Temple rise throughout the past years.

“Over the past two years, I have observed a definite increase in interest, and the numbers support that observation,” said Cory Anderson, a junior music education major and a two-year Owl Ambassador. “We had over 30,000 visitors in 2008.”

Temple offers two tours a day on weekdays to prospective students. In addition to weekday tours, Temple offers a number of Saturday programs and “Experience Temple Days” in the spring for admitted students.

Last fall, Temple held two open houses in October and November. The fall open houses had record numbers with 1,800 more visitors than in the fall of 2007, demonstrating an increase in interest.
Niki Mendrinos, associate director of campus visits, said prospective students and their parents are pleasantly surprised when she announces Temple’s tuition to tour groups.

“Although the economy is not at its best and there are huge cutbacks across the board, when we talk about tuition costs, there are no gasps in the audience,” Mendrinos said. “Instead, people are really surprised by the affordable cost to attend Temple, especially for everything you get. Most people find the price to be reasonable.”

Sara Hanson, a junior psychology major, echoed Mendrinos and said families are happy after hearing the cost of tuition.

“I think students and parents come to Temple with an idea of what they think college is going to cost them,” said Hanson, who has been an Owl Ambassador for two years. “When I quote the tuition rate, I usually get a raised eyebrow or two and the comment, ‘Oh, well, that’s not bad at all.’”

Many prospective students agree that a Temple degree is worth the price.

“The price tag is reasonable for the prestigious degree you will be earning,” said Rayna Cawley, a high school senior from Chartiers Valley High School in Pittsburgh. “Of course, I’m planning to go here in the fall, but there really was no deciding factor. It was more of a combination of the different benefits Temple presented over schools closer to home.”

Anderson said with Temple, the low cost of tuition is just a “bonus.”

“Money is no doubt a concern for both the students and their parents, but the price tag is just an added bonus,” Anderson said. “When I am giving a tour, I don’t see ‘Temple is a good deal’ in the eyes of students and parents. I look into their eyes and I see ‘Temple is full of opportunity.’

Despite the cold weather, interested applicants are braving the frigid temperatures in record numbers to tour Temple’s campus (Nic Lukehart/TTN).

“If, by the end of the tour, the prospective students can imagine themselves at Temple, then the affordable cost is an added bonus.”

Cawley said she sees herself at Temple in the fall because of numerous factors.

“What I liked about Temple, or what most impressed me about the campus, was how clean and presentable it was and well kept. The diversity in every aspect was a lot more prevalent than the other schools I’d visited, as well,” she said. “The tour really reiterated the fact that Temple is an honorable university and that the standards are kept high.”

The tuition at comparable universities is what Hanson said gets students to consider Temple.

“Students and their parents are looking at other colleges and universities that are our competitors and wincing at the price tag and the lack of available student loans,” she said. “I think a lot of students are taking a closer look at Temple than they have previously and realizing that we have some very high-quality, recognized programs that can give them the education they need at a great price.”

Owl Ambassador Amanda Laskoskie, a senior geology major, has been giving tours since her freshman year and said while interest has definitely increased over the past year, questions and comments about cost are not prevalent.

“Students are more impressed by the fact that some of my professors and [teaching assistants] work for NASA than they are that tuition is about $10,000 a year,” Laskoskie said.

On her tours, Hanson said parents and prospective students are asking about tuition.

“Students are definitely interested in our tuition, and I have had a few questions on tour asking about the possibility for tuition increases,” she said. “I tell them that, just like any other university, our tuition will most likely increase by 6 to 7 percent each year, but Temple does everything it can to stick to its roots and provide a great education without the hefty price tag by keeping tuition low.”

With interest in Temple growing, more students are applying.

“The Fall 2009 applicant pool is slightly stronger than last year, so we are hoping to bring in a class that is as academically strong or stronger than last year,” said Karin West Mormando, director of undergraduate admissions. “Our biggest goal is to bring the most qualified students to Temple. Our freshman applications are currently running ahead for in-state students and just slightly behind for out-of-state students.”

“Each year, [Admissions becomes] more and more selective. The average GPA and average SAT score is always on the rise for the average Temple student,” said Kara Snyder, a senior public relations major. Snyder has been an Owl Ambassador since her freshman year.

“Personally, I think Temple is a smart investment with the economy because we have a first-class faculty with a fairly low price tag, but I’m speaking as an in-state student,” she said. “I know that my out-of-state friends don’t think Temple is all that cheap, so I think it depends on who you ask.”

With more students applying, Temple can afford to be more selective when admitting students.

“I have given tours to prospective students from all over the nation and even to many international students,” Anderson said. “Temple is becoming more and more competitive, and students certainly want to be a part of it.”

Increasing interest in Temple allows incoming classes to be more qualified than the last.

“I definitely agree Temple is a bargain,” Snyder said, “and I think the best part is that you don’t feel like it’s a clearance school.”

Valerie Rubinsky can be reached at

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