Student in front of Donnelly College building

Why Our Mission Matters

Donnelly College began in 1949 with a bold vision: to create a Catholic college with a special focus on expanding access to higher education. At Donnelly, access means more than affordability. It also means an urban core location, an open admissions policy, program options to meet students’ needs, and an opportunity to explore faith.  

Donnelly serves a diverse array of students who benefit from our small, faith-based campus and intensive academic supports, but we especially seek to increase access for low-income and first-generation students who are significantly less likely to complete college. Research shows that nationally, only 1 in 10 bachelor degree graduates come from households earning less than $35,000/yr*. Donnelly students are 81% first-generation college students with an average household income of $27,000.

To help reverse these trends in our community, Donnelly works hard to keep tuition affordable, especially in comparison to other private, Catholic colleges.  

Compare average annual tuition costs at Catholic colleges

OUR COMMITMENT — AND NEED

Donnelly’s commitment to access means that tuition must remain low. However, tuition payments do not cover the full cost of educating students, and as a private institution we do not rely on government support that public institutions receive. Instead, we seek generous donors to invest in our mission so we can provide quality academic programs and critical student supports.


WHY NOT RAISE TUITION?

Cost alone should not keep anyone from going to college, but it does. Our low tuition rate increases accessibility and helps student graduate in a timely manner with minimal debt.


WHY INVEST IN DONNELLY?

  • Keep a private, Catholic college experience accessible to all.
  • Support the next generation of diverse workplace and community leaders.
  • Transform people, places and spirits.

Learn more about how you can help here.


*Source: The Pell Institute, Indicators of Higher Education Equity in the US: 2016 Historical Trend Report