Expand access to a portfolio of high-quality, affordable academic programs that meet student, workforce, and societal needs
DePaul will extend its historical commitment to providing access to higher education by developing new curricular structures that serve the lifelong learning needs of all students. These include alternative, more affordable curricular pathways for high-need students, continuing education and certificate programs for adult learners and alumni, expanded online offerings, and flexible curricula. DePaul also will significantly expand graduate and undergraduate programs for students interested in health-related careers through external partnerships and expanded support for existing programs.
DePaul Opens Doors to More Students Through New Pathways and Programs
There are more pathways than ever to earn a DePaul degree because the university has been busy creating new points of entry for all types of students.
Students and their families know that, because of the aging population, the fastest-growing occupations in the United States include professionals with health and medical knowledge, and DePaul has responded to these market conditions by expanding its offerings in health-related fields. In academic year 2018-19, about 9% of total enrollment was in health-oriented programs, with more to come as new programs currently under development are launched.
Headcount Enrollment in Health-Related Programs
Source: Total Student Enrollment Trends in Health-Related Programs (IRMA, Fall 2017). Headcounts are for the Fall term of the academic year listed. IRMA maintains a list of programs deemed to be health-related and revises this list each fall.
Beyond health-related fields of study, DePaul has introduced a growing slate of new programs over the past decade to meet emerging societal needs, from rapidly changing topics in technology to harnessing social media for business success. In 2018-19 alone, faculty approved nearly 50 new programs, combined degrees, minors, concentrations and certificates. Of them, about a dozen launched in fall 2019, including a PhD in curriculum studies, a BS in astrophysics and a BFA in comedy arts.
As illustrated below, in the past five years, between 20% and 24% of DePaul's students have majored in programs that are 10 or fewer years old, demonstrating the value students place on acquiring knowledge and skills new to the marketplace.
Enrollment in New Programs
Source: IRMA New Program Report. New programs are defined as any programs started in the ten years previous to the academic year listed.
To address the affordability factor, DePaul has implemented strategies to increase the transparency and predictability of education costs for students. One such strategy introduced in 2018-19 was the launch of two new scholarships each valued at up to $80,000 over four years for high-achieving Chicago Public Schools (CPS) and Illinois Catholic high school graduates who earned a grade point average of 3.7 or better. The Chicago Promise Scholarship was offered to 2,662 CPS students considering DePaul for fall 2019, while the Catholic Heritage Scholarship was offered to 388 students. Students who ultimately enrolled using these scholarships comprised about 15% of the record-setting freshman class of 2019-20.
The university also partnered with the City Colleges of Chicago to create the DePaul Harold Washington Academy, which serves as an affordable curricular pathway to a DePaul education for CPS graduates, who can seamlessly transfer to DePaul to pursue a bachelor's degree after successfully completing their Harold Washington associate's degree. The academy enrolled its first class of students in fall 2019.
The university's strategic commitment to expanding access to a DePaul education also has been accomplished through increasing the financial support it makes available to students. During 2018-19, the university awarded $540 million of federal, state and private financial aid, including more than $233 million in institutional aid. This funding rose from the prior academic year by about 3% and 5% respectively.
Multiple access points into the university combined with improved affordability and transparency is expected to produce the most important measure of all: a diverse community of graduates who emerge from DePaul empowered to pursue their goals.