The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, D.C. 20500
Dear President Obama:
You asked. Converse College delivered.
On September 10, Converse makes a bold move to answer your call—indeed America’s call—for affordability in higher education. Converse will reset its tuition price for fall 2014 to $16,500—a 43% decrease from the fall 2013 price—for full-time students in our traditional undergraduate program. That price is before our students apply scholarships, grants or other financial aid. It returns our tuition to a price last seen in 2001.
Converse is the first institution in South Carolina to make such a move. “Higher education shouldn’t be a luxury,” you say. We agree. That is why we take this pioneering step, much like our college’s founders did in 1889, to ensure that aspiring young women continue to have access to a college education that activates voice, value and vision to make a difference in the world.
While Converse has experienced record enrollments over the past three years, we have also heard the concerns of students and families, read the headlines, and listened to your challenge for change. We drilled down on our operating budget to create a sustainable business model that offers a high-quality, personalized education at a price aligned with the economic realities of American families. We are an entrepreneurial model in a sector resistant to change.
This month, Washington Monthly named Converse among the top-5 master’s universities for social mobility, research and service. That accolade speaks to Converse’s value. Indeed, 37 percent of the Class of 2013 graduates were the first in their family to attend college: their success will transform families and communities. Moreover, these women join the ranks of such alumnae as a Pulitzer Prize winning author, a deputy crew commander for Titan IV rocket launches, a Texas Supreme Court Justice and a prominent civil rights attorney. Converse educates leaders. We now take a leadership role in advancing higher-education affordability.
Converse welcomed you to our campus in November 2007. That visit helped to spark your success in winning the Democratic nomination in South Carolina. We invite you for a return visit—to show our nation how a small independent university is delivering on the promise of a high-quality education that is both affordable and produces strong results. It would be an honor to share more with you about our bold move and our commitment to change.
Yours most sincerely,
Elizabeth A. Fleming, Ph.D.