The cries of students and their parents lamenting the too-high price of a college education are finally starting to fall on open ears. Handfuls of colleges and universities across the country are beginning to grant relief through tuition cuts, freezes, and other measures. While some solutions may be only temporary — and even result in sharp increases down the road — for now at least, the financial burden is easing at these schools.
If you’ve got the grades, you could wind up on the receiving end of a whopping 61% tuition slash at this private school in New Jersey. Incoming freshmen in the top 10 percent with SAT scores over 1,200 can save $21,000 in the 2012-2013 school year.
Sewanee got into the tuition-chopping club last year, trimming its $46,000 total by 10%. In the words of the vice chancellor, “Given the realities of higher education in the current economy, we believe that some college or university needed to step up and say, ‘Enough.’”
Although several news outlets incorrectly reported that Duquesne was offering a 50% tuition decrease to all students, the truth is the cut is only applicable to incoming, full-time education majors by way of a $14,000 grant. The move is intended to encourage students to pursue teaching degrees despite decreased hiring around the country.
To fight dropping enrollment numbers, this Baptist school in Mount Vernon, Georgia cut its price tag by 22% to $12,290 for the 2011-2012 school year. The drop helps make the school, in its own words, one of America’s best values in Christian higher ed.
Seeing committed students back out to attend community colleges has prompted this college in West Virginia to pull its tuition costs under $20,000. It graduated students early and reduced financial aid to be able to afford the 22% cut for the upcoming term.
To appeal to the “cost-conscious learners” (in other words, everyone), this small Christian college in Virginia dropped tuition by 25% recently for degree-completing students through an initiative it calls inSPIRE. The savings for students come via a $60 per credit hour cut and a free netbook with complimentary e-textbooks.
Tuition freezes may not seem like cuts, but effectively that’s what they are as they keep costs lower than inflation. Ohio’s Urbana University has announced neither tuition nor room and board will increase for the 2012-2013 academic year.
Not only has this for-profit Christian school in Phoenix decided to lower costs for students taking classes online through its College of Christian Studies, the school has extended its tuition freeze that has been in place since 2008.
With apparently no shyness about sparking controversy, this state school recently opted to give illegal immigrants a 58% discount on tuition, becoming the first in the country to do so. The plan will lower costs from $15,985 to $6,716.60 for about 300 students.
Only a narrow group of students will benefit, but Mississippi’s Jackson State recently committed to waiving out-of-state tuition for military vets and their family members, top students in urban areas, and majors in the STEM degrees.
Some students may never have a need for this tuition break, but for students who still haven’t graduated after four years, this liberal arts school pledges to foot the bill for any remaining classes they have left.
Starting this year, Midland will guarantee graduation in four years as well, covering 100% of any courses still needed. The caveats are that students must maintain good grades and declare a major by the start of sophomore year classes.
It’s not technically a tuition decrease, but free textbooks for four years is a money-saver any way you slice it. Students at Dayton can receive up to $4,000 for four years of books (although, sadly, even that wouldn’t be enough to cover some students’ book outlays for their time in college).
Students at the Normal, Illinois campus will get a 28% discount this fall, with a tuition cut of $6,500. Students at the main campus in Lincoln will fare nearly as well, with a 24% drop from $23,000 to $17,500.
No doubt the 300 undergrads at this Bible college in New York were praising the Lord when they heard the school was reducing tuition fees by 22% in 2011. A spokesman said officials were “disturbed” that graduates were declining entering the ministry because of heavy debt loads.
The first-ever class to count males among its number will also enjoy the benefit of a nearly 8% tuition reduction at this previously all-girls school known as Peace College. The move is intended to provide one of the most affordable private educations in the country for middle class families.
Through its “Illinois Back to Work” program, adults over 25 who are unemployed and do not have a bachelor’s degree can come to this school and have their tuition entirely comped, once state and federal aid have been used up.
The 120-year-old liberal arts college in Ashland, Wisconsin has instituted a program called Access Guarantee, “private education at a public school cost.” The school will lower its tuition to match the cost of the primary public school of a low income student’s home state.
This Presbyterian school in North Carolina has the distinction of being located at one of the highest elevations for a college in America, but it’s attempting to go the other way with costs to students. It froze tuition increases for the 2011-2012 academic year, holding it at $22,164.
This rabbinical school in New York is another Jewish institution cutting tuition, easing students’ burden by 20%. With the cutbacks, it seems unlikely the tiny school will gain its own website anytime soon.
In early 2011, trustees at this religious school associated with the United Church of Christ decided to put the brakes on tuition hikes, freezing them for the 2011-2012 terms for daytime undergrads. Grad students and night school goers were not so fortunate: their rates went up $9 per credit hour.
For the second consecutive year, the board of trustees of the Russell Sage College and Sage College of Albany elected to ice tuition increases at zero percent for 2011-2012. Over 90% of students in the Sage system already receive some kind of financial aid to help them pay the $27,000 a year bill.
Although officials at this Catholic women’s college have not imposed a total price freeze on tuition, through the school’s Tuition Promise program, students have a guarantee that the tuition they pay their freshman year will stay the same their entire college career.
At least through 2014, students starting at the private liberal arts school in Missouri will have the assurance that the tuition price for their freshman year will remain at the same level for five years.
The $19,750 per year students pay to attend this Central Missouri school will stay that through the upcoming academic year, making the school where 97% of students receive financial aid even more appealing.
Students here can thank trustees for deciding that tuition, room and board, and other fees would all remain at their current levels this year, keeping the total cost around $30,000 for those categories combined.
President Barbara K. Mistick recommended to the board of trustees here at Wilson that tuition be frozen at $28,745, and in February the group announced their agreement. The move should help the school retain its reputation for excellent educational value.
In the same announcement, Thomas officials pledged to freeze tuition at its 2011-2012 rate, while increasing the number of its Merit Scholarships that range anywhere from $5,000 to $13,000 per year for students who meet the requirements.
This Mennonite Brethren school is freezing the cost of attending for the first time since the mid-’70s. President Dr. Jules Glanzer said, “We want to make it clear that our students are important to us and we want to be compassionately responsive to their needs during this period of wide-spread economic uncertainty.”
In March, Franklin Pierce informed students their tuition would not increase this fall, the school’s second freeze in three years. To sweeten the deal, it also eliminated campus parking fees and course fees.