From the very beginning, Berea College was founded to be accessible to people who otherwise could not attain a college education. As the first interracial and coeducational college in the South, Berea was open to all people, regardless of race, gender, and, beginning in 1892, ability to pay. Since then, no Berea student has ever been charged tuition.
Students with strong academic potential and financial need are encouraged to apply. Berea is academically competitive. The average ACT score of our students about 25, which is above the national average, and most of our students have a cumulative high school GPA of 3.0 or better. Find out if you meet the financial qualifications at our Admission Information page.
We believe a college education is crucial for success in the modern world and that it should be available to everyone. But at an average tuition rate of nearly $40,000 per year, the kind of education Berea provides is out of reach for many, unless they want to take on an enormous amount of debt. We’re proud to say that more than half of Berea students graduate with no debt at all, and typically a tiny fraction of the national average.
Berea College is such a special place that generations of people have been inspired to support it financially. Starting a century ago, all undesignated estate gifts to the College given to us by generous true believers were deposited into Berea's endowment. Over time, this endowment has grown to more than $1 billion, the income from which is enough to cover about 75% of Berea’s operating budget. The rest comes from federal and state grants and annual fundraising. To continue our mission, we must raise nearly $5 million annually. Thanks to our donors, we have met this goal each and every year.
Unlike other colleges where tuition supplies most of the funding, Berea relies on gifts. We put Berea's endowment to work by investing it and using the investment returns to pay for every student’s tuition. Our endowment returns account for 74% of Berea's operating budget. Another 17% comes from state and federal aid. The remaining 9% has to be raised every year.
9% of our operating budget comes from gifts that need to be raised every year. It's how we pay for every student's tuition. Each gift has a far-reaching impact for our students.
Educational opportunity is the best place to move people and families out of poverty. Places benefit, too. Our graduates from the very beginning have gone on to make tremendous contributions to society in science, education, health, the arts, and in every one of Berea's academic majors. The world benefits from the graduates that Berea sends out into it. And just think: what would that world be like if there were 10,000 Bereas rather than just one?
Berea gives us the opportunity to end generational poverty.
Jamie OlekaManaging Director, The Collective, Teach for AmericaBerea College 2013