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In the past two years, F&M has taken numerous steps to build our national profile, including the establishment in 2012-13 of the Franklin & Marshall Admission Network (FAN) through which alumni, parents and students help the college recruit exceptional prospects. As a composite, our last three classes are the deepest, most diverse, and most selective three-year cohort in College history.
In 2008, Franklin & Marshall’s Board of Trustees approved a strong growth strategy for student aid, moving closer toward the College’s longer-term goal of admitting all students without regard for applicants’ financial means, a hallmark of the strongest national institutions. Over the past six years, the financial aid provided to each first-year class has increased by 88%, from $5.8 million for the Class of 2011 to $10.9 million for the Class of 2017, driving our increased competitiveness. At the same time, F&M has piloted a successful strategy to reduce loans for families in the middle financial bracket and has held tuition growth to 3.7% on average over the past five years.
With students from 27 countries, the Class of 2017 is the most internationally diverse class in College history, drawing students from Macedonia to South Africa and from Ecuador to Singapore. Increasing resources for need-based financial aid for some international students will enhance our ability to sustain a global student body.
F&M has been nationally recognized as a leader in addressing the American challenge of “undermatching.” In the last three years, we have intentionally increased the percentage of students who are the first in their family to attend college—and these students are performing well academically. Through our acclaimed F&M College Prep program, established in 2011, the College provides strong high school seniors with a summer academic program that has helped students gain admission to F&M, Harvard, Georgetown, the University of Texas at Austin, UCLA and other top colleges.