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Keeping the cost of education affordable for students

In an ongoing effort to keep the cost of education affordable for students and to help reduce the burden of loan repayment for graduates, Keystone College has announced two major decisions for the 2019-2020 academic year.

First, Keystone has decided to cap tuition and room and board at existing rates for full-time students next year. Typically it is common practice for colleges to raise rates each academic year to keep up with increased costs of providing services. However, Keystone’s decision to cap both tuition and room and board at existing levels will benefit students and their families. Keystone also covers the cost of textbooks and offers iPads to all students through the innovative Keystone Encompass program.

“We realize that college students and their parents struggle each year to meet the costs of tuition and room and board and that household incomes do not always rise accordingly,” said Janine Becker, Ph.D., Keystone vice president for enrollment and marketing. “Thanks to sound fiscal management and a long-term strategy for growth and enrollment, we are pleased to announce that we are keeping tuition and room and board rates stable for next year. Our goal is to provide students and their families with some relief from spiraling costs without sacrificing the quality of the education they receive.”

Expanded parameters of the Loan Repayment Program

In another initiative to provide ongoing value to students and recent graduates, Keystone College has expanded the parameters of its successful Keystone Commitment Loan Repayment Program. The college has increased the maximum level income under which students can receive loan repayment assistance to $43,000, an increase of $3,000 from the previous upper limit.

The goal of the Keystone Commitment, which began in 2016, is to relieve the pressure of potential loan debt students often feel when selecting a college and a major. The Keystone Commitment helps ease that burden so students can choose the career which is best for them. The Keystone Commitment is offered to students in conjunction with the Loan Repayment Assistance Program Association, based in Bloomington, Ind. (www.lrap.org).

Under the new provisions, Keystone graduates working at least 30 hours per week and earning less than $43,000 per year will receive loan repayment assistance based on their annual income. The loan assistance will be determined proportionately by the income of the individual graduate.

“When students choose Keystone they know we will provide a great education and then stand behind them after they graduate.” ~ Janine Becker, Ph.D., Keystone vice president for enrollment and marketing. 

For example, Keystone graduates with an annual income of $20,000 or less will receive 100 percent reimbursement on their quarterly loan payments. Students earning $31,500, which is half-way between the $20,000 and $43,000 threshold, will receive 50 percent reimbursement on their quarterly loan payments. The program covers federal, private, PHEAA, and Parent PLUS  loans. Repayment assistance continues until the graduate’s income rises above the $43,000 threshold or until the loans are completely paid off.

“We are so glad to be able to expand the benefits of the Keystone Commitment to include even more of our graduates,” Dr. Becker said. “Our goal has always been to alleviate as much of the loan repayment stress as possible for recent Keystone graduates. Now, this new threshold relieves more of that burden for our students after they graduate.”

While the concept of a guaranteed loan repayment program is innovative and the only one in Northeastern Pennsylvania, it has been proven successful in the past. In fact, the concept began more than 25 years ago at Ivy League law schools.

The Keystone Commitment Loan Repayment Assistance Program is the most recent example of Keystone’s dedication to students and graduates. The program complements the college’s well-known Keystone Promise, which pledges that graduates will be accepted into a graduate program or receive at least one job offer within six months of graduation or have the option of returning to Keystone for additional coursework or career guidance.

“The Keystone Commitment and the Keystone Promise represent our belief in the skills, talent, and dedication of our students and the expertise of our faculty,” said Dr. Becker. “When students choose Keystone they know we will provide a great education and then stand behind them after they graduate.”

For more information on Keystone tuition, room-and-board, the Keystone Commitment and the Keystone Promise visit www.keystone.edu/admissions. With an enrollment of about 1,400 students, Keystone offers more than 40 undergraduate and graduate degree options in liberal arts and science-based programs in business, communications, education, fine arts, natural science, environmental resource management, geology, and social sciences. Located 15 minutes from Scranton, Pa. and two hours from New York City and Philadelphia, Keystone is known for small class sizes and individual attention focused on student success through internships, research, and community involvement.