Why are Colleges Cutting Costs?

Over the past few years, many colleges have raised their tuition. However, some schools have countered this movement and decreased their tuition. A few days ago one of my colleagues shared an article about my alma mater, Canisius College, and their plan to drop tuition from $34,966 to $27,000 by Fall 2018. This is great news for prospective and current students plus the tuition adjustment is intended to help increase Canisius’ declining enrollment. Some institutions have decided to reduce tuition to save their students from insurmountable debt. Eastern Washington University cut their tuition for two consecutive years. Last year, Rosemont College, in Pennsylvania, sliced their tuition almost in half from about $32,000 to $18,500. Rosemont’s president expressed that cutting their tuition would help those who believed that they could not afford to attend school.  

There are various reasons why colleges are decreasing their tuition, which leads me to ask, how much is a college education? Now, of course, that depends on several variables including the type of college (e.g. community college or four-year institution), its location, degrees offered, and so on and so forth. But, if institutions are decreasing their tuition by the thousands to attract and retain students, how can they function with this huge cutback? Have students been paying unnecessary tuition and fees?

I hope this new phenomenon urges students and families to negotiate tuition prices. Negotiating tuition is relatively common and something I encourage all my students to practice. This past summer I worked with a graduate student who was offered one loan through his financial aid award. I encouraged him to negotiate with his school which resulted in a grant award. In his case negotiating made the difference between graduating debt-free instead of carrying loans to repay for years to come.

If you have questions about how to negotiate tuition, please contact us.

~Dr. Owens



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