Spotlight: Lasell Works

The college's recently launched program will reduce cost of tuition, offer strong focus on professional development

Lasell Works is the institution's first four-year program in which students will be able to pursue their degree with an enhanced focus on professional development skills, while simultaneously paying a declining tuition rate each year. The current program structure guarantees that enrolled students' fourth year of tuition will cost $10,000 less than the first, apart from any additional financial aid or scholarships.

The first class of Lasell Works students will be admitted in Fall 2018, and will provide enrolled students with the skills, perspective, and cost-savings needed to launch a successful and meaningful career after graduation.

The program will feature a focus on professional development over enrolled students' four years of study. Students will spend their first year on campus with the rest of the freshman class but will attend seminars as a cohort to prepare for their year of digital coursework. In the second year of the program, students will live off campus and be required to maintain a part-time work schedule while completing their courses online. The online-only year of courses will provide additional cost savings by eliminating the cost of on-campus room and board, while providing students with a steady source of income. Further, those enrolled in Lasell Works will still be eligible for financial aid and scholarships and will have unrestricted access to all on-campus resources, services, clubs, and organizations.

How does Lasell Works work? Students pay a fixed, declining tuition rate over four years of study. Year 1: $36,000. All courses taken on campus; cohort preparation for Year 2. Year 2: $32,000. All courses taken online and focused on professional development; students live off campus, work part-time. Year 3: $28,000. Students return to courses on campus; cohort work continues. Year 4: $26,000. Students remain in on-campus courses in their final year. In addition, students may still qualify for scholarships and financial aid to be applied against their tuition rate each year.  In their final two years at Lasell, students will have the option to live on or off campus and will continue to partake in cohort-based professional development work while completing requirements for their specific field of study.

"Lasell Works students aren't just paying less for tuition over time, they're also gaining the critical skills needed to launch their careers and contribute to the workforce in meaningful ways," said Gillian Stanley, director of Graduate Student Services and director of Lasell Works. "They'll partner with program faculty to evaluate their part-time work challenges and opportunities and understand how collaboration, communication, and other soft skills impact the industries and organizations they want to join after graduation."

The program will address the education and skills that are highly sought after by employers throughout New England. Courses taken in the students' online-only sophomore year will focus on data analysis, time management, collaborative teamwork, social media for business, and more. The students will be asked to apply lessons from their courses to workplace tasks, assignments, and business relationships.

A similar program has existed on campus since 2015. The current Sophomore Alternative Experience enables students in their sophomore year to take a 100% online course load for one semester, offering significant savings over on-site classes, room, and board.

President Michael B. Alexander has made the subject of college affordability the hallmark of his tenure at the college. The launch of Lasell Works came on the heels of work done by Alexander in early 2017 to pioneer the Lower Cost Models for Independent Colleges Consortium (LCMC). The Consortium includes 19 independent colleges from across the United States and has worked to outline a set of innovative approaches to reducing college financial burdens. More recently, the LCMC garnered significant financial support from the Davis Educational Foundation and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

For Alexander, the work doesn't stop with Lasell Works. He believes that making a high-quality education an affordable one is a long-term commitment and one that Lasell will remain focused on.

"A college education is a major investment for students and their families," he remarked. "Lasell Works is a natural extension of our efforts to develop, test, and launch innovative initiatives that lower costs while providing valuable academic programs, professional experiences, and faculty support."

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