Education

The New YSU! Affordability Augments Its Quality

By Joseph L. Mosca, YSU interim provost and vice president for academic affairs.

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – Americans are more burdened by student loan debt than any time in history. The average student loan debt for the class of 2018 graduates was over $40,000, up 7% from the previous year. This adds up to Americans owing over $1.48 trillion in student loan debt, spread among 40 million borrowers, which excedes the $620 billion that makes up the total U.S. credit card debt.

Youngstown State University has given a great deal of attention to this issue and by virtue of its tuition costs, has made it possible for students to graduate with far less debt. Last year, YSU announced the Penguin Tuition Promise, which provides all first-time undergraduate students the certainty that tuition will remain the same for four years as they pursue their degrees.

Moreover, Youngstown State University was ranked seventh in the nation in a recent list of the 100 most affordable colleges and universities. The list was developed by College Consensus, an independent online resource dedicated to helping students find the right college. College Consensus combines the results of the most reputable publishers of college rankings and thousands of student reviews to provide an accurate and comprehensive ranking of a school’s reputation and quality.

What does it mean that YSU is ranked seventh among the most affordable universities? Let’s put it in context. Many of us know the adage, “You get what you pay for.” Similarly, we tend to associate things that are expensive with quality. In many cases, it’s true that paying more results in greater quality. However, sometimes we are presented with opportunities to enjoy a superior commodity at a low to modest cost. Youngstown State University offers such an opportunity.

YSU is a comprehensive urban research university that offers more than 12,000 students over 135 undergraduate and graduate programs of study. As a major educational and economic development resource in the region, the university is known for its excellence and focus on high-quality teaching, extensive academic research initiatives, and creative programming that transforms students into successful professionals, scholars and leaders.

Five years ago, the average GPA and ACT score of incoming freshman were 2.97 and 20.4, respectively. This past fall, the average incoming freshman GPA was 3.35 with an ACT average of 21.6. With strategic restructuring and enhanced scholarship commitments, our Honors College has grown from 79 students in 2013 to an incoming honors class of 330 this past fall. Currently, YSU’s Honors College is approaching 1,000 students.

Regarding accomplishments, our students are quite impressive. Three years ago, YSU had its first Rhodes Scholar. With that distinction, we joined Ohio State University, Miami University and the University of Cincinnati as one of four public universities in Ohio to have a student chosen for this award. That same year, two YSU students received prestigious Goldwater Scholarships.

Our students are second to none.

Complementing our fine students, YSU’s faculty contribute greatly to the university’s quality and excellence.

This past year, our faculty acquired nearly $9 million in grant awards from very prestigious funding sources including the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health and the National Institute of Science and Technology.

In addition, our faculty hold research collaborations with eight foreign countries, 12 industry partners, 21 universities and 75 other partners and sponsors. The expertise and depth of knowledge of our faculty, and the commitment of university resources and support, has resulted in acknowledging YSU as a global leader in the area of additive manufacturing. In fact, we are one of two universities in the world to own all seven additive manufacturing technologies. It is an impressive distinction.

Being affordable as a university is a great benefit to our students, their families and the region as a whole. To be sure, in the case of Youngstown State University affordability means accessibility to a quality education.

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.