St John's University students are now taking advantage of a graduate school program for alumni who have lost their jobs. NY1’s Monica Brown filed the following report.
Back in December, NY1 reported on a new program at St. John's University that was born out of the recession: any alumni who had lost their jobs within those last six months were entitled to 50 percent off the cost of graduate school tuition.
“After looking at the economy, we were really concerned about how our alums were being affected,” says Beth Evans, St. John’s vice president of enrollment management. “So we really wanted to reach out to the alums to let them know that we were here to assist them.”
NY1 followed up with the university to gauge the response. Since the program’s inception in January, about 300 alumni have asked for assistance. Seven have enrolled in the discount program and saved between $15,000 to $25,000 in graduate school tuition, but the majority have been steered toward the school’s career center.
“We are available to work with them, one on one, individually in our office,” says senior career counselor Laura Smith. “We offer programming in the evenings, like workshops on job search strategy, resume writing. We bring in guest speakers, we host networking events and we're coordinating different job fairs this month.”
University officials say many of its alumni are looking to change fields, and those who were laid off or may be worried about a layoff are now choosing graduate school degrees in education and liberal arts and sciences.
St. John’s officials say they will continue to support the alumni as best as they can, while remaining competitive, despite the economy. Evans says overall enrollment at St. John's has increased 30 percent from last year.
“Although the economy looks really bad, we know that education is the key, and education is the way that people can increase their lifelong earning potential,” says Evans.
University officials say they are evaluating whether or not to continue the program throughout the 2009-2010 school year. They say the economy and the specific needs of alumni will influence their decision this summer.