The headline isn’t a misprint. For the next three admission cycles (Fall 2012, 2013 and 2014), Antioch College in Yellow Springs, Ohio, is offering free four-year tuition to any undergraduate applicants that qualify for the Horace Mann Fellowship. That’s a prize worth over $100,000, when you take the school’s $26,000 per year tuition into account.
In recent years, Antioch College experienced some financial troubles, and after 158 years in business the school closed in 2008. A new initiative, however, has seen the college’s endowment and Annual Fund grow exponentially, especially in recent months. In Dec. 2011, Antioch’s Annual Fund saw its largest single-month increase by receiving $658,208, which raised the fund’s total to $1.2 million. Combined with a $51.7 million endowment, of which a recent $35 million sale of Antioch’s YSI Inc. shares boosted the endowment considerably, the college was able to reopen its doors in 2011 and waive tuition for select Horace Mann Fellows, based on a low-cost operating model that relies less on tuition dollars.
This private, independent nonprofit liberal arts college is actually pretty unique. I went to Pacific University, a private, liberal arts college in Oregon, and Antioch presents educational requirements I wish I would’ve had the opportunity for. For example, all students must complete a cooperative work placement program before graduation, which alternates six full-time, off-campus work experiences with full-time study. That will at least give grads something to put on their resumes other than extracurriculars after they don their caps and gowns. In fact, extracurricular activities–at least the social kinds–are a complete afterthought at this school. Check out this statement from Antioch to future Horace Mann Fellows:
“Antioch College is not where you go to join fraternities, play intercollegiate sports or sit in lecture halls with 100 classmates. It’s the college for young people who want much more out of the undergraduate experience–students who are intelligent, passionate, and mission-driven…those who want nothing less than to leave their mark on the world.”
And students currently have eleven choices to “leave their marks”: Studio Arts, Media Arts, Performance, History, Literature, Philosophy, Environmental Science, Health Science, Social Psychology, Anthropology, and Political Economy. Oh, and don’t forget about the required language minor. Antioch is really promoting the well-rounded student.
According to Yahoo! Finance, there were 35 students enrolled in 2011, and Antioch is looking to take on another 75 in the fall. The scholarship deadline for fall of 2012 has unfortunately passed, but the regular decisions aren’t made until Feb. 15. This could be the perfect opportunity to take a gap year and plan for Antioch in 2013. A full-ride is the obvious selling-point, but being a part of reinstating a school’s legacy is a perk that too few graduates can say they contributed to.