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Noreen M. Carrocci: Newman University grows through high-quality programs, affordable cost

  • Published Thursday, Feb. 28, 2013, at 2:12 p.m.
  • Updated Thursday, Feb. 28, 2013, at 4:12 p.m.

It’s hard to believe that we are already past the first two months of 2013. In the rush of time that characterizes much of modern life, it’s easy to lose track of the changes going on around us – as well as the changes we initiate ourselves.

While in some ways it seems that little changes at a place like Newman University – students come to campus, athletic teams compete, suddenly it’s time for graduation – the truth is that much has changed at Newman in just the six years I’ve been here. In fact, a look back at our past shows that in many ways Newman has experienced remarkable growth and progress.

Founded in 1933 by the Adorers of the Blood of Christ as a junior college serving 36 students, Newman University today is a multi-faceted university offering more than 40 degree programs and serving more than 3,100 students.

As a vital educational provider to the region, Newman offers high-quality undergraduate degree programs in business, education, IT, biochemistry, social work, nursing, health science professions, theology and other disciplines. Newman also offers highly respected graduate programs in business, education, social work, theology and nurse anesthesia.

Newman has also built a solid reputation for academic excellence over the years. Some good examples of this are the recent performance of students in nursing and health science professions degree programs, and in our pre-med course of study:

• 100 percent of 2012 Newman nursing graduates passed the National Council Licensure exam (Newman consistently ranks in the top pass rates of all 34 nursing programs in the state of Kansas).

• 100 percent of May 2012 Newman Radiologic Technology and Sonography graduates passed their licensure tests.

• 100 percent of 2011 Newman Respiratory Care graduates passed their licensure tests.

• 96 percent of Newman pre-med graduates who applied to medical schools were accepted over the past 10 years.

Our dedication to academic excellence is just one reason more students are drawn to Newman each year. The Fall 2012 enrollment of 3,108 students was our fourth consecutive record-breaking year.

Another reason is our commitment to offering these high-quality programs at an affordable price.

We regularly hear in the media that the high cost of education – particularly at a private institution like Newman – makes it too difficult for some students to go to college, or that they must take on enormous debt. The truth is, at Newman University we work hard to keep our high-quality programs affordable and accessible to as many students as possible.

One way we do that is through generous financial aid. Over the past several years, 99 percent of incoming full-time freshman students received some sort of institutional assistance from Newman in the form of grants, scholarships and work-study programs. The average full-time freshman received $10,000 to $12,000 in scholarships and grants.

We also offer financial aid to transfer students, have created several reduced tuition programs, and have established dual admission and articulation agreements with nearly every community college in Kansas. These agreements ensure students that the “core” classes they take at two-year schools will be fully accepted when they transfer to Newman.

As a result of these and other measures, Newman graduates on average enter the work force or a graduate degree program of their choosing with a debt load that is almost identical to that of students graduating from Kansas Board of Regents’ universities.

Newman has also changed to meet the needs of working students and people who live some distance away by adding more online classes over the past five years. Among our most popular online offerings are two graduate degree programs in theology, a bachelor’s degree program in Business Studies and a program that enables nurses with a two-year degree to earn a four-year Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree while continuing to work.

Newman has also worked to create more partnerships within the local community. Under a recent agreement with the University of Kansas School of Medicine-Wichita, Newman now teaches first-year KU medical students human anatomy, and facilitates small group sessions in the basic sciences. Newman partnered with the Via Christi Health system to develop the online nursing program mentioned above.

In addition, Newman has worked with USD 259 and the Catholic Diocese of Wichita to encourage and support high school students who are interested in careers as teachers and health care providers.

Yes, Newman may be the same in some ways, but the university has markedly changed to keep pace with the times and the needs of our students.

If you haven’t been to Newman University recently, I invite you to visit our campus. We’re proud of the progress we’ve made in recent years – and we are pleased to provide our high-quality programs at a surprisingly affordable price.

Noreen M. Carrocci is president of Newman University. Reach her at carroccin@newman.edu. Learn more about Newman at www.newmanu.edu.

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