Antioch College offering free tuition to next three freshman classes

Antioch College, closed in 2008, has found new life, and is inviting students to come be a part of their resurrection, free of charge.

Antioch College in Ohio is offering one heck of a rebuilding program to potential students: free tuition for everybody.

The Antioch Board of Trustees announced recently that the school is extending Horace Mann Fellowships, named after the school’s forward-reaching first president, to all students admitted to the rebounding college over the next three years. After reviewing the endowment fund of the college, as well as the Annual Fund, Antioch president Mark Roosevelt said that they realized there had been major increases over the last six months, which allows them to make this free tuition offer.

“We don’t want economics to be an impediment to a high-quality liberal arts education,” Roosevelt said in a release. “By providing four year, full-tuition scholarships, we make attending Antioch College a realistic option for the best and brightest students, regardless of their family’s economic situation.”

According to Steve Sturman, vice-president for advancement at Antioch, the endowment is currently $51.7 million, an increase of over 106.7 percent. The growth, he said, can be largely attributed to a $35 million payout from the sale of YSI Inc., of which Antioch was a major shareholder. And, the Annual Fund saw the largest one-month gain in the school’s history in December, receiving $658,208 and placing it at $1.2 million for the fiscal year 2011-2012. This, Sturman says, is up 69.9 percent over the previous year. The school is hoping to raise a total $1.8 million by the end of the fiscal year.

Antioch College was originally founded in 1850. However, hard times saw the closing of the private liberal arts college in 2008. A strong alumni base has since led the way to the reopening of the school. The 2011 freshman class of 35 students is leading the charge, and the college hopes to bring another 75 into the fold this fall. By 2015, Antioch’s leaders hope to have around 300 students in its classrooms.

"We are a 160-year-old start-up institution with a lot of history," Cezar Mesquita, Antioch's dean of admission and financial aid, told CBS News. Antioch is hoping to find dedicated students "who can help restart this great institution," he said. On the Antioch admissions page, Mesquita describes the type of students the institution is seeking: “For the fall of 2012, we are seeking 75 bold, imaginative, creative students who are capable of handling the rigors of a high-quality liberal arts education and who possess the desire and capacity to affect change within their communities.”

Deadline for applying is February 15.

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