Wednesday August 10, 2011

Not by the Book

First-year students entering in fall 2012 can receive four years of free textbooks for visiting campus and applying by March 1.

Apply. Visit campus. Complete the financial aid form. Get four years of free textbooks.

First-year University of Dayton students can receive up to $4,000 over four years for textbooks by completing three steps of the fall 2012 application process by March 1.

"We want to help parents and students understand that from the very first day, a University of Dayton education is very rewarding," said Kathy McEuen Harmon, assistant vice president and dean of admission and financial aid.

"Through this initiative, we want to underscore that a University of Dayton education is affordable and we are committed to helping families in very tangible ways," she said.

With the economy still difficult, Harmon said the free textbook program will bring families clarity and certainty about one piece of the financial puzzle.

The requirement that families complete the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) can also help, Harmon said.

"Many families don't fill out the form because they believe they don't qualify or think it takes too much time. They miss out on opportunities to get affordable financing or grant funding," Harmon said.

And the program is an incentive for families to visit campus in a tight economy. Molly Wilson, executive director of enrollment strategies, said in some cases families are limiting the number of visits they make to various campuses. However, the campus visit is one of the most powerful and important aspects of the decision-making process.

"We know if we get students on campus, they can see and feel if the University of Dayton is right for them; we can begin understanding who they are and exploring their financial needs," she said.

Wilson said the textbook program is simple. By March 1, students must make an official campus visit, complete the federal form, and apply and be accepted. Students participating in tuition remission and tuition exchange programs are not eligible.

The grant will provide up to $500 per semester for textbooks purchased through the University of Dayton Bookstore and are good for new, used or rental books.

She said an estimated 75 percent of the first-year class is projected to take advantage of the offer, representing a $1.5 million annual commitment by the University. The program is expected to continue for several years.

Enrollment management started getting the word out to families and students in July through letters and emails. Harmon said families are also introduced to the textbook offer during campus visits and financial aid presentations.

"They have been very excited about the textbook opportunity, especially as part of conversations about additional merit scholarships that recognize the students' academic achievements and help with the cost of attending the University.

"We want them to fully understand the rewards of a University of Dayton education and know that those rewards are not out of their reach," Harmon said. "This is a very tangible way to demonstrate our commitment, one they can see immediately."

For information on the University of Dayton's application process, visit

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