What financial myths are keeping YOU from your private college education?

Private colleges like EMU are within reach financially – despite tough economic times – and provide a valuable, personal, quality education. More than 90% of EMU graduates find work in their field of study within one year of graduation, and small class sizes, personal connections with caring professors, and required cross-cultural study with experienced faculty all prepare students to serve and lead in a global context.

So, what are the financial myths keeping you from choosing a private college like EMU?

Myth: Tuition at a private college is beyond reach, and state schools cost less.

Reality: Many students pay considerably less than the published tuition price at a private college. At EMU, donors play an important part in affordability, allowing the average student to pay only 70% of direct costs.

The difference between public and private college tuition is far less than many families assume, thanks to merit and need-based grants and the Tuition Assistance Grant (TAG). Last year, private colleges awarded more than $270 million in grants and scholarships. EMU’s honors program can cover half to all of tuition costs, and grants are also available children of alumni, faculty and staff. EMU also matches church donations toward tuition. Estimate your academic scholarship online now!

Bottom line: Some 98% of students at EMU receive financial aid. About $11 million in aid was given to students in the last year!

Myth: It’s easy for a high-income family to afford, but harder for a middle-class family.

Reality: Now more than ever, private colleges are protecting their financial aid budgets and enrolling students from all income levels. In fact, national studies have shown that students attending private colleges, on average, have a similar family income as those attending public colleges. In Virginia, private colleges enroll a higher percentage of federal Pell Grant recipients (typically students from families with incomes of $40,000 or less) and minority students than public colleges. The media often cites large figures when discussing national student debt. They don’t mention that up to 40% of all student debt is for graduate education.

Myth: Public or private college – there really isn’t much difference.

Reality: Parents should compare the time it takes to graduate as well as overall graduation rates, class size, student/faculty ratio and personal attention received by students. Private colleges will rank favorably.

EMU’s student/faculty ratio is 10:1, and professors serve as mentors present in many ways across campus. Students and faculty work together on cutting-edge research, planning university chapel and other faith gatherings, and much more. Cross-cultural study has been core to EMU’s curriculum for three decades, providing students with a life-changing lens through which to view their own development. These components prepare students to serve and lead in a global context.

How do students fare after leaving EMU? Of those 2012 graduates who responded to a survey, 90% of graduates were employed full-time, in grad school, or serving in a volunteer/mission position within one year of graduation. A full-time director of career services helps prepare students for success upon completion of studies. 96% of 2012-13 education grads seeking a teaching job were employed as teachers in fall 2013. Over the past 10 years, nearly 90% of EMU students who completed EMU’s pre-medical program were accepted into medical school and a 2008 alliance with The Edward Via Virginia College of Osteopathic Medicine in Blacksburg, Va., promises more exciting opportunities for pre-med students at EMU.

Bottom line: Private liberal arts colleges like EMU offer a campus community that encourages you to get involved and be engaged, and academic and career advising from people who know you and care about your future.

Myth: There will be less assistance from government sources.

Reality: Funding for the undergraduate TAG award, which provides an annual grant to Virginia residents attending a private college in the state, is protected. The 2013-14 grant amount is $3,100.

Ready to learn more about a liberal arts education at EMU?

Find your counselor and get the process started, call toll-free 800-368-2665, or email

View The Council of Independent Colleges’ report on student debt myths.