Affording college is a challenge that many families share. Whether it be tuition costs, room and board, or both, attending one’s college of choice can seem financially daunting. At Christendom College, though, generous financial aid and scholarship opportunities have made attendance possible for families — many of whom are large single-income households. However, despite the generous offerings, some families who favor Christendom as their top choice find they are receiving a more competitive offer at another Catholic college that requires a lower bottom line. This was the case for the Accurso, Harrison, and Williams families but there was a solution for them: Christendom’s Price Match Program, which enabled them to attend their school of choice and thrive as a result.
Freshmen Anthony Accurso, Kiele Harrison, and Peter Williams came to Christendom from all across the United States — with Harrison coming the farthest, all the way from Honolulu, Hawaii. During her senior year of high school, she was researching colleges from the Newman Guide and came across Christendom one night, and immediately began doing more research into the school. According to her parents, Christopher and Christy, Christendom’s liberal arts offerings, coupled with its size, jumped out to her the most.
“She liked that Christendom reflected a practical approach to a Catholic liberal arts education that balanced a strong and faithful core program with the ability to have a major,” say the Harrisons. “She was also impressed with how focused Christendom is in helping prepare its student for the real working world. Finally, she also really liked the size of the college as being neither too small nor too large and overwhelming.”
Harrison began the application process for Christendom but realized early on that the overall cost would be too high without assistance. The family got in contact with the college’s admissions team, who introduced them to Christendom’s Price Match Program. After Kiele applied for another Newman Guide school and provided the admissions team with the overall lower bottom line cost, they worked hard to make an offer close to the other school’s. While the college is not always able to make a 100% match, the Price Match committee works with the family to make a competitive offer — such as in the case of the Harrisons. Their new offer made the choice easy for the Harrisons, and Kiele eagerly took it.
“The price match program has definitely helped me,” says Kiele. “I may not have been able to afford to come here otherwise, so I am very grateful for this program and how much it helped me.”
The Accursos have a similar story. Hailing from Gilbert, Arizona, Anthony Accurso first heard about Christendom from different materials he received from the school in the mail. After deciding he wanted to eventually go into politics, he found Christendom’s liberal arts education and proximity to Washington, D.C. a perfect fit for his career goals. Soon after, he discovered his mother, Christine (’97), was an alumna of the school, and the more she told him about her experience, the more it appealed to him.
As much as he loved Christendom, however, he ran into a similar problem as Kiele Harrison: the cost of attendance was a big obstacle. Thankfully for him, the college brought up the Price Match Program to him as well, and the rest is history.
“If it wasn’t for the price match, I can say very confidently that I would not be here in Front Royal today, and that I would be back home attending the community college down the street. The process was very long and stressful at times, but the admissions team was incredibly helpful through it all. They were, and still are in my mind, an incredible vessel of grace,” says Accurso.
His mother, Christine, agrees with that statement.
“He prayed as if everything depended on God and worked hard in applying to other schools and negotiating. Through the hard work of our son and the incredible advocacy of Tom McFadden and his team, God made it possible,” says Christine Accurso.
For Peter Williams and his family, they share a long history with Christendom. Many of Peter’s aunts and uncles attended Christendom, which only boosted Peter’s interest in the college’s strong Catholic culture and smaller size. Claire Guernsey, a family friend and current junior at the college, encouraged him further, and Peter attended the college’s high school summer program as a result — which convinced him completely that it was the right school for him.
Peter’s parents, Christopher and Janice Williams, were thrilled at how much he wanted to go to the school, but struggled to make the financial numbers work. After years of paying for private school and college tuition for his siblings, it did not, at first, appear that Christendom would be doable for Peter. But, after applying for the Price Match Program, they were convinced otherwise.
“We applied to the Price Match Program, and with the assistance of the program and several conversations with Tom McFadden we were able to commit to Christendom,” say the Williams. “This year in particular has been a struggle with COVID 19, as it is for many families I am sure. We pray for Christendom’s success, and our ability to continue to support Peter at Christendom.”
For Peter, the Price Match Program was the saving factor for him.
“The Price Match Program was the saving factor in my college choice,” says Peter. “The program’s generous price match gave me the necessary money to attend Christendom College. I am incredibly grateful to the admissions and financial aid staff who made my dream of attending Christendom College a reality.”
Peter, Kiele, and Anthony are now on the cusp of finishing their first month at Christendom — with Anthony even being elected class president of their class. They are thriving in and outside of the classroom and are grateful for the opportunity to attend the college of their choice, in-person and at an affordable cost.
The college decision is one of the hardest of a young person’s life, with the financial aspect playing a huge role. Christendom’s Price Match Program makes the decision easier for students,while many others find they do not even have to apply for the program because they already received a very competitive offer from the admissions team upon applying for the college. No matter the financial situation, the college strives to make it possible for interested students to attend Christendom.
“The majority of our families are pleased with the financial assistance they receive through Christendom’s normal financial and scholarship offerings and consequently never pursue a Price Match. However, in the cases where a student is serious about Christendom but is being drawn elsewhere because of a lower bottom line offer, the Price Match Program has been an invaluable resource in making Christendom an affordable option for them,” says Director of Admissions Sam Phillips.
The Accurso, Williams, and Harrison families all found a way to make their children’s dreams a reality though, enabling them to fulfill their calling to go out and “restore all things in Christ.”
“I honestly believe that the liberal arts education offered here at Christendom paired with the vibrant Catholic community makes this place very special,” concludes Anthony Accurso. “I cannot see myself at any other school and am incredibly grateful to the Lord for leading me to this outstanding Catholic institution.”