Rivier University in Southern New Hampshire, a small Catholic school, has joined the ranks of colleges that offer what might be called a money-back guarantee to its students. The school of 2,600 students in Nashua created the “Employment Promise Program” which full-time undergrads will have available to them beginning with the class of 2020.
If students do not find a job within nine months of graduation, the school will pay their federally subsidized student loans for a year or will enroll them in up one of six master’s degree courses at no cost, writes Holly Ramer of Associated Press.
“We want to send a message that we recruit not just for the first year, but we’re a partner throughout an educational experience with students,” university president Sister Paula Marie Buley said.
“The Rivier Employment Promise is really the university’s commitment to partner with students in the classroom, on campus, in the community and ultimately, a career,” she said.
Of the roughly 200 incoming freshmen, Buley believes that most will sign up for the program when it goes into effect. The criteria for enrollment include a 3.0 minimum grade point average and participation in activities such as career counseling, internships, and community service.
The university, for its part, will provide specific academic and career planning to increase students’ chances of employment.
Rivier is the only school in New Hampshire that affords such a program, but other colleges and universities nationwide that offer similar plans. Thomas College in Waterville, Maine pays federal student loans for a year or gives students free master’s degree courses when they agree to certain steps in their undergraduate track. If they do not gain employment in a job that relates directly to their majors within six months of graduation, the graduates are eligible for the benefits.
In Laurel, Maryland, Capitol College guarantees a job within the 90 days after graduation that also has a competitive salary, or the school will grant up to 36 additional undergraduate credits to the alum. Michigan’s Adrian College pays a part or all student loan payments up to the time the graduate procures a salary of $37,000 a year.
The Rivier University class of 2014 had 95% of its graduates employed, in graduate school, or enlisted in the military within six months.
When Adrian College instituted its program in 2014, officials at the school said it was a viable solution to the severe rise in tuition costs and the many defaults on student loans, reports Valerie Edwards for Associated Press. And because the tuition at Rivier is $28,800, Buley explained that their Employment Promise Program is a way to show parents that their investment is worth it.
According to the Rivier University website, the school’s mission is to “transform hearts and minds to serve the world.” Founded in 1933, the University is a co-educational institution that endeavors to create a community where integrated learning is the shared responsibility of administrators, staff, faculty, and students.
“Engaging students in a series of thoughtful career planning experiences strengthens their resumes, interviewing skills, and self-confidence, while also supporting the development of their professional networks,” says Marie Sullivan, Director of the Career Development Center.