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Clarkson University: Defying Convention with President Obama

High Starting Salaries for New Graduates and Solid Financial Aid Packages Make Clarkson an Affordable Choice for Students and Their Families

By Anthony G. Collins, President, and Kelly O. Chezum, Vice President for External Relations

Clarkson University is at the forefront of supporting President Obama’s  “shake-up” for higher education and confident about how this upstate New York research university will fare in the new scorecards for colleges and universities, and the proposed measures of assessing affordability for students and families.
Undergraduate tuition and fees at Clarkson are $40,540 and with typical residential room charge and meal package, the total cost to educate a student goes to $53,808.  This academic year remains representative of our past years where 99 percent of Clarkson students received aid based on need and academic performance.  Last year, Clarkson awarded an average aid of $26,459 per student, which is more than half of the published price of tuition.   Additionally, 31 percent of Clarkson students qualified for Pell Grants, which is another example of how Clarkson is already in tune with the national emphasis on expanding access to high quality education to lower income students.
Last fall, ABC News asked PayScale to name the schools with new graduates who earn more than Harvard’s and Clarkson was among just 12 schools on the list.  PayScale reported an average starting salary for Clarkson’s new graduates as $57,900.  Of students graduating in Clarkson’s Class of 2012 and using the campus Career Services Center, 96 percent reported being placed in their field of study in the first year after graduation.  Check out for more information on the career success of Clarkson alumni.

With this as background, Clarkson faculty and staff begin conversations with students and families about the affordability of education by first talking with students about their career aspirations and then the expected return on investment from their education.   Clarkson offers the full spectrum of professional preparation, networking and broad education that is needed to compete for the best jobs around the world.
Clarkson is ready for the Obama score card as the institution has a long history of prioritizing access to education for all qualified students who seek to enroll and remains committed  to having the greatest share of its alumni contributions and endowment go to student aid and education.
Clarkson is also at the forefront for taking innovative approaches to helping students finance their education – particularly those students who are already in business with a product or service, or getting ready to commercialize new technology.  Based on a competitive application process, students in the Young Entrepreneurs and Young Innovators Program can attend Clarkson without payment of tuition through a combination of merit-based financial aid and purchase by Clarkson of 10 percent equity in their firm at fair market value.  Go to for more information.
You and President Obama can count Clarkson University among the private higher education institutions that have no problem being held accountable to standards that measure how well we prepare students for remarkably successful careers and for ensuring access to education for all qualified students.  We have been doing just that since 1896.

[News directors and editors: For more information, contact Annie Harrison, Director of Media Relations, at 315-268-6764 or]

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