JBU Students Celebrate Free Tuition

Siloam Springs, Ark. (March 27, 2008) — Surrounded by posters, flyers, t-shirts, and flying discs that announced “Freedom is Here,” students at John Brown University learned that each class period they attend from now until May is free to them. As part of its first “Tuition Freedom Day” (TFD) celebration on Thursday, JBU explained to students that the tuition they paid for the 2007-2008 school year covered the cost of their education only up to this week. The $4000 per student cost of education for the remaining 5 weeks of the semester is paid for not by the students, but by outside gifts to the university. The actual cost to educate each student at JBU for the 2007-2008 school year was $21,076. The amount that each student was charged for tuition was only $17, 076. The $4,000 difference was paid for by the university in the form of an unpublicized subsidy to each student, regardless of financial status or scholarships they receive. Funds for the subsidy are raised by JBU in the form of financial gifts from alumni and friends of the university. This is the first year JBU is publicly celebrating the annual gifts that fill the tuition gap, even though similar unpublicized subsidies have been consistently applied to student accounts throughout JBU’s history. In celebrating Tuition Freedom Day, JBU is letting students know that they are getting a more valuable education than the price tag suggests. Leading up to Tuition Freedom Day, the university prodded students’ interest and curiosity with a mysterious “Freedom is Coming” campaign. People on campus buzzed all week wondering about the bright green posters, web pages, flyers, buttons, and campus announcements that let students know that “Freedom is Coming in 3 days,” and then “in 2 days,” and then “in 1 day,” without revealing what that freedom was about. A contest even allowed students to submit guesses as to what they believed “Freedom” was, and awarded a $50 prize to a student with the closest guess. Thursday morning, posters, flyers, balloons, web pages, a banner on campus, and a video shown in the student center revealed to the campus community that “Freedom” referred to Tuition Freedom Day. Flying discs with the TFD logo and web site were distributed to students as they exited Thursday’s chapel service. “Celebrating TFD in this manner was a fun way for us to communicate the message that the benefits of being part of the JBU community go far beyond what they realize,” said Jerry Rollene, director of Alumni and Parent Relations. “We hope the students had fun and can now appreciate even more the value of their JBU education and the generosity of those who help make it possible.” To illustrate the generosity of donors who give of their resources to benefit JBU students, several students were given stacks of TFD t-shirts that they were encouraged to give away to their fellow students however they wished. Through a TFD web site, students have an opportunity to learn more about the subsidy and the generosity of donors and to submit thank you notes to those who give to the university.