From the early 2000s to the 2020s, is ‘Living Lasallian’ worth it?
By Kamryn Sobel
In an article published in the early 2000s, previous Collegian Editor-in-Chief Josh Farley
reported on how Saint Mary’s high tuition costs made it hard to follow the teachings of St. John Baptist De La Salle’s, who founded the Institute of the Brothers of the Christian Schools and is the patron saint of Christian teachers.
The Lasallian educational tradition, being a distinguishing characteristic of Saint Mary’s, “Empowers students to become whole persons—intellectually, socially, emotionally and spiritually. This preparation for a full and rewarding life is grounded in the belief that God is a living presence in all our lives and it is guided by the five core principles that influence everything we do.”
As part of its Lasallian traditions, Saint Mary’s is guided by four core principles: concern for the poor and social justice, faith in the presence of God, quality education, respect for all persons, and fostering an inclusive community. Saint Mary’s also describes the sense of community that portrays these traditions. The student body, as well as faculty and staff, show that although the Saint Mary’s community comes from various backgrounds, and each member of the community has its differences, in the educational environment there is mutual respect and understanding of others. The classroom setting allows an openness of the mind in dialogue, eagerness to find the truth, and acceptance of others with both their uniqueness and limitations. “Such a community nurtures an engagement in intellectual growth, a spirit of faith and service to others, an active concern for justice, and sensitivity to the dignity of the human person.”
However, what is the cost of these Lasallian ways? Do transfer and working students get to experience all of Saint Mary’s promises?
When the original article was published on this topic, Saint Mary’s tuition was around $30,000 per year. As it was described by Farley in the original article, “The increasing price of tuition may also make the students pay the price of sacrificing the Lasallian education.” It was also reported in the original article that both the transfer and working students would have liked to experience and have a bigger role within the Lasallian ways. They found it hard to fully commit themselves to living Lasallian, as they were either working to pay the cost of the tuition or finding it hard to connect with the community.
Similarly, during the 2020-2021 school year, Saint Mary’s decided on offering mostly virtual courses, leading to parallel situations with the transfer and working students within the original article. Today, the cost of attending Saint Mary’s is just above $50,000, however, Saint Mary’s now offers many opportunities for those who want to experience Lasallian living.
The overall goal put into place by Saint Mary’s is to make sure the community is abiding by the Lasallian Core Principles that Saint Mary’s has established. Despite the costly tuition, all students experience Lasallian education by the commitment to education, faith, respect, and acceptance by the community. Ways that students can make the price worth the ideology of Saint Mary’s, is to not only practice the given principles but to take the opportunity of experiencing a Lasallian Service Internship, participating in student service projects, or living in the Lasallian Living Learning Community.
To learn more about Living Lasallian visit https://www.stmarys-ca.edu/living-lasallian.
Melanie Moyer '22,