Brac­ing for hit

The Buffalo News - - CONTINUED FROM THE COVER -

Other area schools said they were un­likely to fol­low suit on a tu­ition re­set, and some colleges and uni­ver­si­ties were lean­ing to­ward in­creas­ing their schol­ar­ship awards in an ef­fort to com­bat free tu­ition.

St. Bon­aven­ture has ex­pe­ri­enced two suc­ces­sive years of en­roll­ment growth, but is still down by 7 per­cent from five years ago. To keep mo­men­tum, the univer­sity is look­ing to at­tract top stu­dents with added schol­ar­ship money of up to $4,000.

Most fam­i­lies today are look­ing past sticker price for a bot­tom-line fig­ure of what it’s go­ing to cost for their child to at­tend a col­lege, once fi­nan­cial aid is fac­tored in, said St. Bon­aven­ture Pres­i­dent Den­nis DePerro.

“I think they’re go­ing to find our fi­nan­cial aid pack­age is as at­trac­tive as it’s ever been,” he said.

The univer­sity didn’t see signs of Ex­cel­sior’s im­pact on 2017 en­roll­ment fig­ures, but univer­sity of­fi­cials an­tic­i­pate more fall­out for 2018.

“We ex­pect that it’s go­ing to hit harder. That’s the pri­mary rea­son we in­creased the schol­ar­ship awards, par­tic­u­larly for those who qual­ify for Ex­cel­sior,” DePerro said.

At its largest in the late 1980s, St. Bon­aven­ture ex­ceeded 2,800 stu­dents. This year, en­roll­ment stands at 2,100. DePerro said the univer­sity’s ideal size is prob­a­bly around 2,400 stu­dents. With new pro­grams in the al­lied health pro­fes­sions in the de­vel­op­ment pipe­line, DePerro ex­pects to get to that

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