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The new “Norbert’s Ninth” promise opens a rich door of opportunity for current and newly admitted students as they navigate their undergraduate experience through the coronavirus pandemic.

Norbert’s Ninth: SNC Counters COVID-19 With an Offer of a Tuition-Free Ninth Semester

As the whole world deals with the distress and disruption of the coronavirus pandemic, college students are additionally facing uncertainty around the experience they had rightly hoped for from their four undergraduate years.

St. Norbert’s new ninth-semester-free promise, rolled out last month, gives its current and incoming students new hope for a fully rounded experience of higher education lived in community. “Norbert’s Ninth,” a contract through which the college picks up tuition for a qualifying student’s ninth semester, is one new way of fulfilling the college’s promise to its undergraduates even in challenging times.

President Brian Bruess ’90 says: “It feels really good to be able to hold open a door of opportunity for our students at a time when so much of our daily life is circumscribed. It’s crucial that we all focus first and foremost on our immediate public-health responsibilities. But, here at St. Norbert – an institution that prepares students for every good work – we also keep our eye on the needs of a brighter future to come. We hope that our promise of a tuition-free ‘Norbert’s Ninth’ semester will extend new possibilities to all those current and newly admitted students and families struggling, as we all are, in these current difficult circumstances.”

A fully rounded experience of college life in community
At St. Norbert College, as the community has carefully prepared for a return to campus, the effort has been guided from the beginning, says Bruess, by twin aims: to keep faculty, staff and students as safe as possible, and to preserve as much as possible the full experience of residential learning in community that is the hallmark of a St. Norbert College education. Those two goals – safety and community – cannot always easily be reconciled during these times of physical distancing.

“We want to make sure that all our students, over the course of their time at SNC, can attain the complete and fully rounded experience of college life in community that we have always been so proud to offer,” adds Edward Lamm, vice president of enrollment management. “It’s an opportunity that we hope will include not only a rich experience of academic instruction but also a full co-curricular life, along with high-impact, highly enriching and highly enjoyable opportunities like study abroad and athletics competition.”

To that end, SNC plans to extend a ninth-semester-free promise to any current or newly admitted undergraduate student enrolled through Fall 2020 and Spring 2021 who wishes to complete their college career in this manner.

Bruess told Inside Higher Ed, the industry journal: “The way I look at it financially is that if a student graduates on time, that’s more important. ... So if the college forgoes some tuition revenue, we’re willing to make that investment.”

Easy to apply for
St. Norbert College will cover the full value of tuition for the courses needed to complete an undergraduate degree in the ninth semester, minus any other federal, state or institutional grants or scholarships the student qualifies for that semester. Eligibility requirements are posted at Norbert’s Ninth: The Ninth-Semester-Free Promise.

On-campus housing will be available to ninth-semester students, but on-campus residency will not be a requirement.

Students have the option of enrolling in their ninth-semester degree-completion courses during either the fall semester, spring semester or summer term.

Student-athletes will need to consult their coach and athletics director on eligibility and compliance requirements. Student-athletes taking part in a spring sport may choose to take their ninth semester in the spring.

Students interested in benefiting from the Norbert’s Ninth program will be guided through their discernment via the established academic advising program.

Interested in learning more about Norbert’s Ninth? The information at snc.edu/advisement/norbertsninth.html is a good place to start.

Aug. 18, 2020