July 20, 2018

President Stimpert wrote a letter to the editor, originally printed in the July 19, 2018 edition of the Richmond Times Dispatch in response to an editorial published July 11: Put college in its proper place.

Great education at an affordable cost

Editor, Times-Dispatch:

Regarding your recent editorial, "Reality check": We applaud the recent recruiting success of Sweet Briar College, one of our partners in single-sex education. While Hampden-Sydney's enrollment increase percentage is not as dramatic as Sweet Briar's, we are preparing to welcome one of the largest freshman classes in our college's 243-year history.

We attribute our recruiting success to demand for a broad education that emphasizes academic rigor, thinking and communication skills, character development, and outcomes. Our success also points to the continuing relevance of Hampden-Sydney's mission "to form good men and good citizens."

Your editorial notes that the cost of attending college is likely to be one of the reasons enrollments have fallen nationally. At Hampden-Sydney, we understand that the cost of higher education cannot continue to grow faster than family incomes, and we are working hard to slow the rate of our tuition and fee increases.

For two years now, the cost of attending Hampden-Sydney has grown by less than 2 percent each year. At the same time, we are working hard to increase the value of a Hampden-Sydney degree. Ninety-four percent of the seniors who graduated this past May finished their degrees in four years. And, we are heavily focused on outcomes—getting our students into great jobs and outstanding graduate and professional schools. The average starting salary of this year's graduating seniors is more than $51,000.

One of the many virtues of this country's higher education landscape is the great diversity of options open to the full range of students, from traditional college-bound high school seniors to adult learners. The broad, highly personal education small private colleges offer is not for everyone, but we believe there will always be a large number of students who are attracted to the extraordinary learning opportunities and personal mentoring we offer—a remarkable education that prepares our students to be leaders in the organizations where they work and the communities they call home.

President Larry Stimpert

Hampden-Sydney College, Hampden-Sydney