Message from SCICU President and CEO Jeff Perez –
Many of you know I hail from New York, where the state motto is “Excelsior,” and translates from Latin to “Ever Upward.” Here, in my adopted state of South Carolina, the state motto is “Dum Spiro Spero,” or “While I Breathe I Hope.”
Together, I think these mottos capture the spirit of the 21 SCICU member institutions.
These private colleges and universities embrace the challenge of providing their students the high quality academic and living experience they and their families expect. As a result, their students enjoy a preparation that matches their greatest aspirations.
Considering the achievements of the SCICU member institutions, it is no surprise they had a strong showing in the annual U.S. News Best Colleges rankings released a few days ago. U.S. News captures several aspects of an institution’s operations in order to give campuses with different priorities the chance to excel. These include graduation rates, student indebtedness, class size, and alumni giving, to name a few.
U.S. News also groups colleges and universities into size and region categories so they are ranked with comparable institutions.
Several SCICU member institutions were ranked near the very top of their respective categories. Their rankings are a testament to their embodiment of “Excelsior,” and we offer our heartiest congratulations.
Now let’s turn to “Dum Spiro Spero.” SCICU member institutions provide their students with the opportunity to realize their highest hopes by making a college education accessible to all students, regardless of their backgrounds.
Just take a look at a few statistics from our member institutions.
- 44% receive federal Pell Grants, which are available to the most economically disadvantaged students
- 49% identify as non-White
- More than 90% of all undergraduate students attending SCICU colleges and universities receive some form of financial aid
Regarding financial aid, our campuses have the greatest confidence in their students and invest in them accordingly. Last year, SCICU colleges and universities provided nearly $342 million – that’s more than one-third of a billion dollars – in institutional aid, so they could help remove economic hurdles in the way of students whose hope and dream is to benefit from the superior education they offer. Institutional aid is far and away the largest source of financial aid students at SCICU member institutions receive, far greater than student loans.
So what did we learn from today’s Latin lesson? Our students are striving ever upward, and SCICU member colleges and universities breathe hope into their aspirations.