Feb 17, 2017

February 2017 Update from the Affordability Steering Committee and Working Group

An early version of the Value Triangle framework, which places Access, Affordability, and Employability at each corner.

An early version of the Value Triangle framework, which places Access, Affordability, and Employability at each corner.

A New Framework

We last reported on our progress in making NYU more affordable for more students in October, 2016. As our work has progressed — and there is lots to report below — we have come to see very clearly the connection between affordability and access- the need to make sure we are making it possible for the widest spectrum of students to enter NYU, but also between affordability and employability — the need to make sure our students feel well prepared for their next step, whether that is work or graduate school. So the ultimate goal is an NYU that produces value, however each student defines that.

We’re happy to share some data that helps us understand where we are on each of these elements:


The New York Times Upshot piece on January 18, 2017, reported on a study that looked at over 2,000 colleges and universities through the lens of economic mobility — post graduation earnings compared to parent earning upon enrollment — of people who had enrolled in college between 1999 and 2013. This data reveals some things we thought were true: NYU is 4th among top colleges enrolling the highest percentage of low and middle income students. And some things we didn’t know: how well we were doing in terms of student mobility. Mobility measured the percentage of a university’s former students whose current earnings were in the top quintile of the income distribution — compared to people born the same year — and whose parents were in the bottom 5th of the income distribution. NYU scored 85th nationally and 8th compared to other elite colleges. A second calculation, called upper tail mobility, calculated the percentage whose earnings were in the top 1% of the income distribution while their parent earnings were in the bottom 5th. Here NYU ranked 7th nationally. David Stasavage, Julius Silver Professor of Politics and a member of the Affordability Steering Committee has done a thoughtful analysis of the data, which you can find here.


NYU’s Wasserman Center for Career Development reported this spring that 96.2% of respondents from our class of 2016 undergraduates were either employed or enrolled in graduate or professional school within 6 months of graduating. Wasserman also reports an increase of mean starting salary — $61,478, up 5.3% from $58,411 for class of 2015.

The Times Higher Education World University Rankings confirmed how well regarded NYU students were as job prospects with their ranking NYU #1 on graduate employability as ranked by employers in the United States.

NYU Accelerate: New Pathways to Graduation

There is no one silver bullet that can solve the affordability issue for our students. However, thanks to the work of the NYU Affordability Steering Committee and Working Group as well the wider NYU community, we have surfaced a wide and growing range of innovative ideas. None of them will suit every student’s circumstances, and not all of them will be available to every student, but every student should be able to find some measures to help him or her save money.

For example, a program we are calling NYU Accelerate alerts students to pathways we are establishing to make it easier for some students to graduate in less than four years, as approximately 20% of our undergraduates do already, or to pursue joint bachelors and masters degrees on an accelerated basis.

During the fall 2016 semester, deans consulted with their faculty to discuss pathways to acceleration and have reported back to us in the following areas:

  • As of January 2017, every undergraduate NYU school has designated acceleration advisors. Advisors are prepared to discuss AP, IB and other advanced credits, transfer credits (including non-residential transfer credits), and course sequencing, including opportunities to take 2 credit, J-term and summer courses.
  • Schools and departments are creating more opportunities for students to take 2 credit courses so that they have more flexibility in completing the number of credits needed for early graduation. At the College of Arts and Science, four departments launched new 2 credit courses this year, with a combined enrollment of over 200 students, and several others are considering 2 credit options for next year, both here in NY and at our study away sites.
  • Advisors and most undergraduate students now have access to the Academic Planner tool in Albert. This new tool helps students track and map their progress toward fulfilling degree requirements, making it easier to plan for and pursue acceleration options with their advisors. Academic Planner also displays a notice to students when their plan exceeds 8 semesters, and allows advisors to provide both approval and guidance.

Acceleration at the Graduate Level

We are also improving the visibility of existing opportunities for students to pursue shorter degrees:
  • Most NYU schools offer combined undergraduate/graduate degree options that reduce the cost of a master’s degree and, in most cases, the time spent in graduate school. So, for example, a student can earn a BA/MPA, a BA/MPH, or a BFA/MA in 5 years instead of the six it would normally take and thus save a year’s worth of tuition — tens of thousands of dollars.
  • At the graduate level, several schools have developed one year master’s degrees. NYU’s Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service and The Leonard N. Stern School of Business have new 1 year offerings.

New Opportunities for Community College Transfers

With the support of an anonymous $2 million grant, NYU Gallatin School of Individualized Study is developing a new articulation agreement with the Borough of Manhattan Community College (BMCC), similar to one that is already in place between BMCC and the College of Arts and Science for STEM students. Admitted BMCC students will begin taking one course at Gallatin in the fall of 2017 as sophomores and will transfer to Gallatin as juniors in the fall of 2018.
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The Work Continues

Below please find updates on some of the initiatives and actions announced last October.

Lower Direct Costs


We thank faculty for their review of syllabi that resulted in reducing the number of books required to be purchased by 1,000 — from 6,600 in spring 2016 to 5,600 titles in spring 2017. As part of this, the Libraries and the Bookstore instituted a new system that checks course packs and books to see if the material is available through the library free online. For this spring semester, NYU Libraries provided free links to electronic licensed content for 40% of the 235 course pack citations that would have been required purchases, and 211 required books, saving students the need to purchase this material and reducing the cost considerably. In addition, the Libraries identified more than 2,500 print books requested for spring course purchases in its collections, and put these titles on reserve for students to access them in person.

Reducing the Required Minimum Meal Plan for First Year Students

After a review with students, we have lowered the number of meals required as part of the incoming student meal plan — from a 300 meal/semester plan to a 225 meal/semester flex plan.

Additionally, we are pleased to report on the uptake of both the Courtesy Meal Program, which provides free meals for students in need of immediate nutritional support, as well as Share Meals, a student-driven initiative that connects students with meal swipes to students who need meal swipes. The Courtesy Meal Program launched in October 2016 and 26 students participated during the fall. Share Meals reports that 403 user accounts were created in fall 2016.

The Committee and Working Group also want to promote a popular mechanism being used to inform our community of leftover food from events or club meetings: the Free Food at NYU Facebook group. NYU community members can join this group to post information and leftover food alerts as well as to access notices from others around campus. There are currently 4,239 people in this group, and opportunities to find free food on campus are posted for our campuses in Brooklyn and Washington Square. Please be sure to spread the word.

Campus Shuttles

In the fall we reported that we were adding 50 weekday shuttle trips between Brooklyn and Manhattan, going from six to sixteen trips daily Mondays through Fridays. Public Safety informs us that ridership increased by 400% — from 4,500 rides in fall of 2015 to 18,000 rides in fall of 2016. Assuming a one way subway ride, this saved students $37,125 collectively.

New Resources

Momentum Campaign

As of February 1, 2017, $680,338,324 has been raised for the Momentum scholarship campaign — a total of $34,642,492 in FY17.

Scholarship Aid for U.S. Veterans

Since our last update, NYU Stern announced a $15 million endowment to fund the Fertitta Veterans Program, an innovative program designed specifically for U.S. military veterans and active duty students to support their transition to business school — financially, academically and professionally. The school projects that approximately 20 incoming full-time MBA students who are accepted into the Fertitta Veterans Program will receive scholarship support that reduces their tuition to a flat $30,000 per year, which in many cases can be further reduced through veterans benefits, including Yellow Ribbon funding. U.S. Military veterans and active duty students who are admitted to Stern, but are not awarded the Fertitta Veterans scholarship, can request to participate in the Fertitta Veterans Program’s academic and professional initiatives.

More On-Campus Jobs for Students

WayUp — the leading digital platform helping college students and recent grads get hired for internships, part-time, and full-time jobs — launched its partnership with NYU in December of 2016. Since then, 3,400 students have signed up to take part. We are working across the University to get jobs posted. We also look forward to launching a new marketplace for off-campus jobs so that students can be employed by members of the NYU community for non-University activities such as babysitting, tech assistance, tutoring, etc.

Crowdfunding Platform to Engage Donors in New Ways

Rising Violets, NYU’s first crowdfunding platform, launched in October 2016 with eleven campaigns. Our goal was to engage 200 donors, and we are delighted to report we surpassed that goal with a total of 298 unique donors — 45% of whom were giving to the University for the first time. We look forward to the launch of six new campaigns in March for NYU OneDay.

Free Access to $420 Million in Potential Scholarships

Nearly 4,000 people have used NYU’s free access to Scholly — a gateway to private, external scholarships — as of February 2, 2017. Thus far, 1,217 scholarships totaling over $4,171,250 in potential awards have been applied for or are in the process of being applied for. We have two reported wins, totaling $6,000 in scholarships. It’s early in the scholarship season and we remain hopeful.


Raise.Me “Micro-Scholarships”

In October we announced a partnership with Raise.Me, an online platform that encourages high school students to earn “micro-scholarships” for achievements during high school, such as maintaining a strong high school GPA, or participating in leadership roles. The University is working with 10 tri-state area high schools that serve students from low-income areas. Seven of our 10 pilot high schools currently have students following NYU on Raise.Me (a total of 157 students), 44 of whom are current seniors.

Financial Ed

Helping Students with Financial Choices

In October we announced our partnership with iGrad to provide financial education to all NYU students, alumni, and families. The resources available through iGrad are designed to address the financial education needs of the wider NYU community — students, parents, faculty, staff and alumni. Students and parents might be particularly interested in iGrad's tips about navigating the options for student loans and budgeting. Faculty, staff and alumni have access to everything that is available to students and also financial planning tools that can inform decisions about retirement, investment strategies, and whether to own or rent a home. The iGrad platform provides a wide array of financial tools including courses, calculators, live webinars, games and videos. iGrad will launch by end of February. Stay tuned for more information.