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Pomona College Celebrates Tuition-Free Day

On Wednesday, March 21, Pomona College will celebrate “Tuition-Free Day,” the approximate day that tuition “runs out,” and the generosity of the Pomona College community kicks in to cover the actual cost of a Pomona College education.

The approximate cost of a Pomona College education is $79,000. For this academic year, the cost of attending Pomona was $55,160 including room and board, leaving a difference of $23,840 that donors to the College play a major role in covering.

Every year, approximately 9,000 donors give millions of dollars that help make up the difference between the actual cost of a year at Pomona College and the amount that students and their families pay. For the 52% of students receiving financial aid, the amount of aid provided by donors is even higher.

Throughout the day, students and faculty will be participating in a range of activities to acknowledge the importance of Pomona College donors past and present. Blue ribbons have already started appearing around campus, adorning locations and items made possible by Pomona College donors, from books to buildings. On Wednesday, from 11:30 am – 5 pm, students can stop by Walker Wall to add their handprints to a Wall of Thanks. Thank-you cards for donors will be available at Frank and Frary Dining Halls from 11:30 am - 1 pm and at the Smith Campus Center from 4 - 5:30 pm. Seniors will also have donation cans for the senior class gift at the Frank, Frary and Campus Center events.

Nancy Treser-Osgood, Pomona’s director of Alumni Relations and Pomona ‘80, chaired the student and staff committee that organized the day’s events. “Our hope is that Tuition-Free Day will help students realize that an entire community of alumni, parents, staff, faculty and friends cares about and is invested in their education. Of course, we also hope this realization will encourage today’s students, as they graduate and become Pomona alumni, to give back to the College in support of the Sagehens who will follow in their footsteps.”

Jenn Wilcox ’08, the young alumni representative to the Board of Trustees, donates both time and money to the College. In a recent letter to The Student Life, she noted some of her reasons for giving. “The most influential moments of my college experience were debating the nature of choice in Professors Brown and Green’s ‘Freedom, Markets and Well-Bring’ seminar, brunches at Frank that I shared with my sponsor group and cheering for the men’s basketball team…. Now that I’ve graduated, I give back to Pomona. I can’t give much—after all I’m only 25—but every month I set aside the cost of a few trips to Starbucks for Pomona’s Annual Fund. I trust Pomona is a place where you make the world a better place by supporting the Sagehens who come after you, which is why I choose to invest in all of you.”

Chris Bergeron ’14 is one of the several students, across all four classes, who worked on the Tuition-Free Day planning committee. He hopes that "Tuition-Free Day serves as a reminder that the generosity of thousands of donors makes our Pomona experience possible. I think students need to be more appreciative of those gifts and hopefully pay it forward after graduation."

Founded in 1887, Pomona College has a long history of need-blind admissions and meeting the full financial aid need of every admitted applicant. In 2008, the College eliminated loans from its financial aid packages and meets financial aid need with scholarships and a small amount of work-study funds. Pomona’s donors play an important role in making this possible.