St. Olaf College | News

Strive for Five program recognizes St. Olaf for affordability, completion, and outcomes

St. Olaf College has been recognized by the Strive for Five program for its successful commitment to students in the areas of affordability, completion, and outcomes.

By working toward the five measured goals of the Strive for Five program — inclusion, diversity, affordability, completion, and outcomes — institutions like St. Olaf are trying to create an environment where students from historically underrepresented backgrounds can thrive in higher education.

The measure of affordability set by the program means that St. Olaf offers a net price of less than $13,500 for low-income students. St. Olaf is committed to making education affordable by meeting 100 percent of the demonstrated financial need of our students, and 80 percent of all Oles receive need-based financial aid. The average need-based financial aid award for first-year students is $41,392, which means a St. Olaf education is often more affordable than that of a student’s home state school.

St. Olaf also has one of the best completion rates among its peers. These rates meet or exceed the national average of 81 percent for first-year to second-year retention and that of the national graduation rate of 51 percent over six years for Pell Grant recipients.

The outcomes of a St. Olaf education are a source of strength and pride as well. Oles enter the workforce or pursue advanced degrees that they regularly describe as intellectually stimulating, personally rewarding, and supported by the skills they gained here at St. Olaf. The Strive for Five program recognizes that more than 25 percent of St. Olaf graduates who were from the bottom fifth of incomes as students have moved up to the top fifth as adults — meaning Oles are among the top percent of students who both came from a lower-income household and ended up as a higher-income adult.

The Strive for Five recognition program is administered by the Strive for College organization, which supports first-generation students throughout the college application and financial aid processes. Strive for College also partners with colleges and universities to strengthen on-campus support for its “Strivers” made up of talented and motivated students from traditionally underserved communities.

This is the first year that St. Olaf has partnered with Strive for College, and Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid Chris George ’94 looks forward to maintaining and strengthening the partnership.

“At a time where we are seeing a national decline in low-income and first-generation students applying to college, we are excited to be recognized for our efforts on affordability, completion, and outcomes. This is an important reflection of our ongoing commitment to provide access and opportunities for underrepresented students to attend St. Olaf College.”