For more than 160 years, Niagara University has been committed to providing an outstanding education that is both affordable and accessible to students from around the world, with a special focus on those from New York state and Western New York. Initiatives such as scholarships for students of Niagara and Erie counties and regional Catholic high schools have enabled thousands of WNY students realize their dreams of obtaining a bachelor’s degree, while supporting the economic and social revitalization of the area.

“Niagara University, as a Catholic and Vincentian nonprofit institution, is a steadfast proponent of accessibility and affordability in higher education,” said the Rev. James J. Maher, C.M., president. “At Niagara, 98 percent of our students received nearly $44 million in institutional financial aid during the 2015-2016 academic year, and the university’s economic impact on the Western New York community exceeded $225 million.”

More than 2,000 of NU’s 3,168 New York state students come from Erie and Niagara counties, and its four-year graduation rate is the highest in the Buffalo-Niagara region. The majority of its graduates stay in the region, elevating the Western New York community, workforce, schools, institutions, and families.

In addition, approximately 1,200 of NU’s NYS students received TAP during the 2015-16 school year, totaling nearly $2,700,000. And 28 percent of our undergraduate students on the Monteagle Ridge campus are PELL eligible, meaning that they come from households that are the most financially challenged.

Complementing NU’s generous financial aid packages is the success students have in completing their degrees and entering the workplace. Niagara’s four-year graduation rate is the highest in the Buffalo-Niagara region, and in a survey of recent graduates, 96 percent reported that they were working or were enrolled in graduate school.

However, higher education is becoming an increasingly hypercompetitive marketplace. Students and their families want the best facilities, the best professors, the best programs, and the best offerings a campus has to offer. Making these investments takes resources, and institutional leaders must find balance between many competing factors while ensuring affordability for students.

In addition, students seeking a college education may be the first person in their family to continue an education past high school, and will likely need help paying for it.

“As an independent, not-for-profit college, we recognize it is our responsibility to provide affordable opportunities for all New Yorkers and we have stepped up to the plate to do so,” Father Maher said. “We have always had a public/private partnership with the state and we will continue to work to ensure affordability while confronting demographic challenges.”