A Conversation with the President
Lewis Duncan, Rollins' 14th President
Rollins Answers the Challenge: Access and Affordability
The demographics of the college-bound population and the economics of higher education are changing. We asked Rollins President Lewis Duncan what that means to the College.
Q: When people think of Rollins, it’s usually the residential undergraduate program, but that’s less than 60 percent of the College’s total enrollment. Who are the rest?
A: The Crummer Graduate School of Business serves more than 300 MBA students, both recent college graduates and experienced professionals. The College’s evening degree program, the Hamilton Holt School, enrolls another 1,000 students, ranging in age from 17 to 75. Most also work, and a number are returning to college after taking time away for their careers or other obligations. It’s not unusual for Holt students to be the first in their families to earn college degrees—but they’re frequently not the last.
Q: How do these different programs fit the Rollins vision?
A: The College’s mission states that we are guided by the values and ideals of the liberal arts ethos. That viewpoint forms the foundation for all of our programs—Arts & Sciences and Professional Studies, the Crummer School, and the Holt School. As College units have evolved to fill students’ needs, however, it would be fair to say that our vision has developed multiple perspectives. Today, we serve students of diverse backgrounds and varying educational interests, bound by the shared goals of seeking to live meaningful lives and enjoy successful professional careers.
Q: Some have the impression that Rollins is a school for wealthy students. What percentage of the current study body receives financial aid?
A: Eighty percent of Rollins students receive some form of financial aid. While some of those dollars are federal and state funds, such as Pell Grants and the Florida Resident Access Grant, and another $6.5 million is provided by scholarships from gifts or endowment, more than $26 million comes directly from the College’s operating budget.
Q: What proportion of the budget is that?
A: More than one-quarter. Next to the cost of personnel—compensation and benefits, it’s the College’s largest expense and our fastest-growing expenditure, but the Rollins community would be very different without it. Just as we want students who bring us diversity of culture, thought, and talent, we seek economic diversity as well. The socio-economic diversity of our community enriches every student’s educational experience. Preserving access to and affordability of quality higher education remains our greatest economic challenge.