Tuition Question: Ivory Tower or Bargain Basement?

The Washington Post: “As soaring tuition scares off many families, a growing number of private colleges have embraced a marketing tactic associated more with selling airline tickets or flat-screen televisions than higher education: a price cut … The movement exposes a reality of higher education long hidden in plain sight: The difference between sticker prices and what the average student actually pays is often vast.”

“Twenty-three private institutions have reduced tuition since 2016, according to the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities … Their reasons vary. Some need to bolster recruiting in the face of major financial challenges. Others want to escape a pricing formula that assumes prospective students view high tuition as a mark of educational quality even though they simultaneously seek significant discounts or financial aid.”

“The most prestigious schools enroll large numbers of students willing and able to pay full price. Federal data show the share of full-paying undergraduates in 2016-2017 — those who received no grants — was 42 percent at Princeton University, 50 percent at Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine, and 57 percent at Wesleyan University in Middletown, Conn … But many schools have few full-pay students. The Washington Post found more than 310 colleges and universities in 2016-2017 where at least 95 percent of undergraduates received grants or scholarships.”