Pictured above center is Riley Chapla, daughter of Shannon Roddel, assistant director of media relations at Notre Dame. Chapla is a sophomore at Holy Cross College. Chapla said, “Because classes are small, it has been easier to get to know my professors on a more personal level. They are really accessible, which is helpful with my psychology major and working around soccer games and training. After playing my freshman year, I took this year off from soccer, but am rejoining the team as a junior in the fall.”
Among the best perks available to full-time Notre Dame faculty and staff are the educational benefits. The University provides tuition assistance to the dependents of eligible faculty and staff who attend Notre Dame, Saint Mary’s or, as a portable benefit, other four-year accredited colleges and universities.
This portable benefit can be used, for example, at Holy Cross College, just west of the University on Indiana 933. It’s among the best values outlined on the Human Resources website:
Holy Cross College has both merit and need-based scholarships available for Notre Dame employees’ children and dependents who want to live in on-campus residence halls. These awards can be used to cover room and board fees.
That last line is a game changer.
While the portable Notre Dame education benefit must go only toward tuition and fees, the flexibility of the Holy Cross scholarships means the dependent of a qualifying Notre Dame employee could attend Holy Cross College and live on campus for no cost.
The idea for more flexible scholarships for dependents of Notre Dame faculty/staff came in 2018 after Rev. David T. Tyson, C.S.C., was named president of Holy Cross College. That’s also around the time Michael Griffin, a longtime theology professor at Holy Cross, was named senior vice president.
“We look for ways to partner with Notre Dame that are mutually beneficial,” Griffin said.
This win-win is simple: The dependents receive a college education in the Catholic and Congregation of Holy Cross tradition, while Holy Cross College gains students whose tuition is paid for by Notre Dame.
“We have a long history of having the children of Notre Dame faculty, staff and administrators at Holy Cross. Father Hesburgh had numerous nieces and nephews who attended Holy Cross,” Griffin said of former Notre Dame president Rev. Theodore Hesburgh, C.S.C.
And there’s good reason to consider Holy Cross College today, Griffin said.
“Our academic caliber is on the rise,” he said, comparing Holy Cross College’s admission standards to those of Saint Mary’s College, another Holy Cross institution along 933.
Griffin notes, “It’s getting harder and harder to get into Notre Dame. I want Holy Cross to be a viable alternative for the kid who doesn’t get into Notre Dame but is super smart. They might be thinking of Boston College, but I want them to have us in the mix.”
While some students are on track to begin college at Holy Cross and transfer to Notre Dame through the Gateway, Driscoll Scholars or Naval Prep programs, others are happy to be at Holy Cross for four years, enjoying all that comes with attending a smaller college of about 500 students.
“We’ve got a solid collegiate culture here,” Griffin said. “We also have a joyful Catholic identity, and that’s really a deep part of the day-to-day experience here. Every Tuesday night we have a priest here for confession and Eucharistic adoration.”
That’s not to say the student population is not diverse. It is. While much smaller than Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s, Holy Cross has a higher percentage of students of color and low-income students, Griffin said.
Another characteristic of Holy Cross College is that students receive preferred admission to graduate programs at Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s. While Notre Dame employee education benefits do not cover the cost of graduate school for dependents, there is the gift of time to save for it.
Kevin Mospan, benefits program manager in Human Resources at Notre Dame, pointed out, “If you’re going to get a cost-free bachelor’s degree at Holy Cross College and then a guaranteed spot into a graduate program at Notre Dame (or Saint Mary’s), that is certainly something that you could plan for and use that time wisely.”
Holy Cross College is still accepting applications for the 2021-22 academic year, but the window will close Tuesday, June 15. Those interested in hearing more about Holy Cross College as an option in the more distant future might consider attending an HR information session in the fall.