Girl Studying Outside

Strategic Plan



St. Mary's College of Maryland acknowledges and values the potential of all people within our learning environment. Students, faculty, and staff in the St. Mary's College community differ by culture, ethnicity, physical ability, gender, sexual orientation, religious practice, socio-economic status, politics, and geography. We take advantage of our diversity to achieve a common vision that promotes learning excellence and fosters leadership in the service of society. While we celebrate diversity in all its forms, we recognize a need to make still greater efforts to become more inclusive and representative of all social sectors. As a result, we will focus our concern on providing greater opportunities for members of underprivileged social groups. By including and valuing new voices we enrich the dialogue among students, faculty and staff within the College community.

The ideal of diversity has a natural home in a liberal arts institution. The best of the liberal arts tradition examines perspectives derived from many cultures, ethnicities, lifestyles, and interests. The goal of improving diversity within the College community is a mandate of our status as a public institution. It is therefore incumbent on us to reach out to all members of our society and provide opportunities for education and advancement. St. Mary's College of Maryland must seek ways to become more inclusive, even if this requires us to change in significant ways. We must ensure an active process to enhance diversity by continued assessment of our accomplishment and formulation of new goals.

The College will improve economic diversity.

It is a major goal of the College to broaden the economic diversity of the student body. All students admitted to St. Mary's should have the opportunity to afford higher education, and specific efforts must be made to ensure that the population of the State of Maryland is adequately represented on campus, regardless of family income. This focus on access is consistent with the State of Maryland 2004 Plan on Postsecondary Education.

Family economic status is determined by the federal Expected Family Contribution (EFC) measure. For FY05, 15% of St. Mary's students were able to contribute less than $5,000 toward the annual cost of a St. Mary's education and 25% less than $10,000. About 60% of St. Mary's students demonstrated no financial need based on their EFC.

The outstanding need of the St. Mary's student body (unmet need after family, federal, state, institutional and private grants or scholarships) can be measured by several indices. For FY05, the outstanding need relative to the cost of tuition and fees was approximately $770,000. Measured relative to direct costs (tuition, fees, room, and board) the unmet need was $3.53 million, and against comprehensive costs (which include books and living expenses) it was $5.41 million.

St. Mary's provides both need-based and academic merit aid to students. Need-based grants are awarded to students with significant outstanding need. Merit-based scholarships are awarded need-blind. College expenditures for scholarships have remained constant on a per student basis since 2001, while spending for need-based aid has increased several fold. In FY05, 47% of all institutional aid went to students with EFCs under $10,000 and 60% to those with EFCs under $20,000.

Objectives with Assessment Metrics

  1. The College will meet the outstanding need of in-state students relative to the cost of in-state tuition and fees with need-based grants by FY06.
  2. The College will provide additional need-based aid to in-state students with EFCs less than $10,000 to help meet the cost of room and board charges.
  3. The College will maintain the current value of merit scholarship offers to new students by increasing awards in years in which tuition and fees increase.
  4. The College will use private support to promote economic diversity and provide additional need-based aid to both in-state and out-of-state students.

Develop an Affirmative Action plan and designate a full-time AA/EEO Officer.

Diversity of faculty and staff inherently impacts the diversity of students, both in attraction and retention. At the same time, there may be highly qualified candidates for positions who may not be attracted to the College, either because positions are not promoted through the proper channels or candidates possess reservations about working in our community. The College resolves to provide a diverse community, both in visible and invisible diversity.

Objectives with Assessment Metrics

  1. The College will develop an Affirmative Action Plan within the first year of the Strategic Plan, with the goal of appropriate representation of diverse populations.

Diversify student body and provide enhanced support services.

The College is committed to serving a heterogeneous student population, and cherishes all forms of diversity. Any student entering the College may require support services, especially among those students feeling isolated or overwhelmed on campus. As a result, the College aspires to provide a range of advanced services available to all students. The Multicultural Advisory Committee is identifying strategies to identify and retain a diverse student population of all income ranges.

Objectives with Assessment Metrics

  1. Increase to 20% the percentage of first-year students drawn from minority groups by 2009, with particular focus on Latino/a students.
  2. Increase to 18% the percentage of all students drawn from minority groups by FY09.
  3. Increase first-year to second-year retention to 90% by FY09.
  4. Between 2005 and 2009, the 6-year graduation rate for all minorities will be maintained.