Our Funding Priorities
The promise of inclusion and opportunity has always been central to Drexel's educational mission and that commitment continues today:
- About 13 percent of 2017 entering first-year students identified as underrepresented minorities
- More than 25 percent qualify for Federal Pell Grants, which go only to students with maximum family income of $50,000
- Approximately 30 percent of full-time undergraduates identify as first-generation college students.
To ensure that all of these ambitious, diverse individuals fulfill their tremendous potential, we support them academically, financially, socially and in terms of their professional development. Scholarships and paid co-ops are the lynchpins of our student success strategy. Other innovations such as learning-living communities, side-by-side classrooms with community members, and unique academic-industry partnerships continually enhance the Drexel experience. Learn how you can fund scholarships at Drexel.
Still, we have more to do. While 87.6 percent of our incoming students receive University-funded or donor-funded financial aid, Drexel remains an unattainable dream for many talented young people. And serious inequities exist between co-op salaries for students who secure STEM-based or business-related positions (which average $16,000 per placement), and the 20 percent who receive little or no co-op pay. The latter work with start-ups, nonprofits or government organizations that cannot offer salaries, or they want to take advantage of an opportunity to learn and work abroad.
Drexel leans into this challenge, fully committed to achieve these goals:
- Create a strong need-based, endowed-scholarship model that enhances our selectivity, increases our acceptance rate and strengthens student retention;
- Provide salaries for co-ops in the not-for-profit sector to make it possible for students to pursue these socially-important but unpaid experiences;
- Support an array of student-success initiatives that include effective academic advising from admission through graduation, tutorial services, co-op and career counseling, and individualized mentoring.
We have seen our academic reputation strengthen steadily as we continue to attract, retain and graduate higher-achieving and more diverse students each year.
Drexel’s trend-setting approach to teaching and learning combines theory with experiential learning, and benefits from the synergy of student time in classrooms, laboratories, workplaces and neighboring communities. Our students learn entrepreneurial skills by running businesses, train to be next-generation educators for urban schools, conduct potentially life-saving research, make medical breakthroughs, and improve neighborhoods through civic engagement.
Our commitment remains steadfast: to educate change-makers who can rise to new and complex societal challenges. It requires that we continually add world-class experts to our faculty and secure the resources to sustain their teaching and scholarship. Limited funding has challenged us to operate with the smallest number of endowed professorships of all our peer universities. We also have lagged in facilities for vital disciplines. This hinders our ability to compete for, and retain, the highest-quality faculty.
Expanding upon our successes requires:
- Endowed professorships that attract and secure the best and the brightest researchers and thought leaders, allowing Drexel to remain nimble, continually reinventing our curricula and instructional technologies for undergraduate and graduate students;
- State-of-the-art learning environments for all classes, that serve as catalysts for discovery and collaboration;
- Restoration of our reputation as the distance-learning market leader, through revitalized technologies for Drexel University Online (DUO).
- Ninety-eight percent of our eligible students land in highly competitive, often lucrative co-op positions. In addition to diverse businesses, research endeavors and public service, many choose to make their mark in community legal clinics, urban gardens that replace food deserts, and clean water programs in Sub-Saharan Africa.
- USA Today's 2016 College Guide ranked Drexel as #5 nationally out of 223 schools in Design and Applied Arts. In the same publication, our College of Nursing and Health Professions' nursing program was ranked #3 out of 508 peers.
- Students working with world-class professors have opportunities to participate in revolutionary research in fields that range from materials sciences to game programming, from urban health issues to the psychology of marketing.
- The Students Tackling Advanced Research (STAR) Scholars Program allows high-achieving first-year students from across the University to participate in faculty-mentored research, scholarship or creative work during the summer following their freshman year. Recent STAR projects ranged from designing an inclusive playground for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder, to increasing interest in STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering and math) among middle and high school students using art and creativity.
With your support, Drexel will leverage our historic strengths and shape the future of educational design and delivery.
Drexel excels where disciplines converge. We define new fields that combine computer engineering with fabric manufacturing and design; medicine with bioengineering; and business with neurobiology. The results are real-world solutions for problems that cannot be tackled in traditional academic silos.
We still have many untapped opportunities to explore.
In order to move forward vigorously and remain a force for positive change, Drexel must raise the resources to:
- Ensure permanent, University-wide funding to encourage ongoing multidisciplinary research;
- Upgrade facilities across our campus to spur cross-disciplinary collaboration and innovation at the highest level;
- Secure endowed funds that generate permanent support for faculty in high-priority research areas and distinctive research centers and institutes.
Every day new algorithms, technologies and treatment strategies are bursting onto the scene. Drexel needs your partnership to remain at the forefront.
Examples of Drexel discovery and innovation:
- For the past six years, U.S. News & World Report has ranked Drexel among the nation's top 10 universities for making "the most promising and innovative changes in the areas of academics, faculty, student life, campus, or facilities.”
- We consistently rank among the top 50 universities in the nation for generating patents - while spending two to three times less than our peers. In 2017, Drexel University was recognized by independent economic think tank the Milken Institute as one of the top 50 universities for commercialization in the United States.
- The ExCITe Center, our University-wide multidisciplinary research initiative, focuses on the intersection of design, technology and entrepreneurship. ExCITe fosters research in smart textiles; explores cognitive process in food choices; teaches music technology as an entree to STEM careers for urban youth; and offers an App Lab for students who want to shape the future of mobile devices.
- The A.J. Drexel Autism Institute takes a unique public health approach to autism spectrum disorders. Its interdisciplinary team explores life-changing early interventions, especially in underserved populations, and pioneers community-based solutions for adults on the spectrum, who have been largely ignored.
- Drexel is a founding partner in Advanced Functional Fabrics of America (AFFOA), established with a $75 million award from the Department of Defense to accelerate the growth of new materials and textiles engineered to see, hear, sense and communicate. Our fabrics are revolutionizing aerospace, apparel, architecture and health. We will also be home to the new Pennsylvania Fabric Discovery Center at Drexel, where the University will help companies, entrepreneurs and innovators take their advanced-textile concepts from prototype to product.
As a truly comprehensive urban research university, Drexel maintains a strong commitment to activate personal growth and civic engagement as well as academic discovery. This requires funding that allows us to optimize all aspects of teaching and learning as well as campus life - from a robust athletics program to myriad opportunities to serve our neighbors and surrounding communities.
In addition, we must secure the resources that keep us nimble and proactive. Drexel's deans, provosts and top researchers can only provide visionary leadership when they have the resources to think and act boldly. Unrestricted philanthropic funding underpins much of the life of the University and helps make a Drexel education a remarkable, life-changing experience for thousands of students each year.
- Our new DragonsTeach Middle Years program allows Drexel students with any major to earn a middle school teaching certification. In part, they receive training-by-doing, while helping to meet the urgent need for science and math teachers in Philadelphia public schools.
- The Thomas L. Kline School of Law established a Community Legal Clinic where third-year law students provide free legal services while also learning how to advocate for justice - in the courts, with City Council, and with key institutions such as utility companies, planning commissions and insurance agencies.
- Each year, the Stephen and Sandra Sheller 11th Street Family Health Services uses Drexel faculty and students to deliver award-winning, transdisciplinary primary care, behavioral health, dental services, and health and wellness programs for more than 2,500 adult patients.
- The Dornsife Center for Community Engagement constitutes a unique “urban extension center” on the edge of campus, with offerings that combine Drexel University expertise and community knowledge to solve problems for children, youth, adults, and senior citizens in Mantua, Powelton Village, and West Philadelphia.