The National Association of College and University Business Officers (NACUBO) recently conducted a survey of the tuition rates at private nonprofit colleges. Students hoping to attend a private university may be in luck; grant aid for first-time freshman students is at an all-time high, according to the survey.
The average amount of grant financial aid that private colleges offered to first-time freshman student recipients reached almost 50 percent of tuition costs for the first time during the 2017-2018 school year. This is up from 48.2 percent during the previous school year. The discount rate for students of all ages was 44.8, which is up from 43.2 percent from the year before.
The study “is an important reminder that the price tag on a college education isn’t what most families ultimately pay,” Ken Redd, NACUBO senior director of research and policy analysis, said in a press release.
The percentage of students that received discounted tuition has gone up over the years as many colleges use tuition discounts as a way to draw in competitive applicants. NACUBO found that during the 2017-2018 school year, nearly 90 percent of freshman students received some sort of discount.
Still, students can end up paying over $40,000 a year in tuition and fees on average at a private university. This is a hard sum for many families to account for.
But Redd said that most schools have found that simply lowering tuition doesn’t appeal to prospective students in the same way that offering a discount does. When schools lower the tuition price, many people assume the programs offered are less valuable. After trying that solution, most colleges find that they aren’t “a long-term sustainable model,” Redd told MarketWatch.
However, Redd added that these hefty tuition discounts put many colleges in a difficult financial situation. In recent years, many schools have had to consolidate or close altogether due to financial instability.
The NACUBO is a nonprofit organization that represents over 1,900 academic professionals at higher education organizations across the country. The NACUBO Tuition Discounting Study began in 1994, and data collection for the next study will begin in October 2018.
Author: Andrew Rombach
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