CBS Evening News Reporter Interviews SPC President

As the United States economy falters, college students around the country are facing unplanned financial shortfalls. The CBS Evening News with Katie Couric visited Saint Peter’s Jersey City campus to discuss with President Eugene J. Cornacchia, Ph.D., the College’s response to the failing economy, and it’s effect on Saint Peter’s students. CBS Evening News Chief National Correspondent and Emmy Award-winning journalist Byron Pitts interviewed President Cornacchia to learn what the College is doing to help its students.

“So many of our students are faced with unexpected financial hardships, because they began the school year with a certain level of income and expenses and, by the time December arrived, they were dealing with entirely new circumstances,” commented Dr. Cornacchia.

Dr. Cornacchia also noted the initiatives that Saint Peter’s College has implemented to decrease spending.  The College will save $120,000 by cutting back on event catering and trash pickup. Documents that would have otherwise been printed and mailed can now be viewed online.  Hiring across the College has also been delayed.

Of the 123 students at Saint Peter’s struggling to pay their tuition, Susan Mascolo ‘09 and David Lewis ’11 each explained to Mr. Pitts how the economic downturn has affected their ability to pay tuition.

David, a member of the track team, witnessed his father lose his job last summer and his parent’s restaurant lose customers due to the economic crisis. However, with the help of a payment plan from Saint Peter’s, David will continue to study at the College; he remains optimistic that he will be able to afford tuition next semester.

Susan’s parents, who have another child in college, were forced to put their home up for sale to pay their daughters’ tuition.  However, because of the plummeting real estate market, their home failed to sell.  With the help of multiple loans, grants and an extensive financial-aid package, Susan will complete her last semester at Saint Peter’s. 

Saint Peter’s is developing extended payment plans and finding new lenders to maximize the number of students the College can keep enrolled.  “As a Jesuit school, we’re following a long tradition of caring and compassion,” said Dr. Cornacchia.  

The interviews aired Wednesday, March 4, 2009, on The CBS Evening News with Katie CouricTo view the video, click here to visit the CBS Web site.

In addition to this program, Dr. Cornacchia was also interviewed by reporters from PBS/NJN, News 12 New Jersey and The Star Ledger.