Private colleges slash tuition to attract more students

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – This may be a growing trend in Pennsylvania: private colleges and universities are doing something to bring back students and families scared away by the sky-high cost of higher education.

In some cases, tuition plus room and board can cost $50,000, $60,000, even $70,000 a year. As a result, enrollment is down.

“Sticker shock is an issue. In fact, some research suggests 60 percent of parents and students will rule out a school based on just the price,” said Don Francis of the Association of Independent Colleges and Universities of Pennsylvania.

To get students back on campus, private schools are either slashing or freezing tuition. Immaculata University near Philadelphia is reducing tuition from $34,400 to $26,500 a year. At LaSalle, tuition is down from $40,400 to $28,800, and Rosemont College on the Main Line reduced tuition to $18,500 from $31,500. Rosemont also knocked $1,900 off room and board.

Other schools like Harrisburg University of Science and Technology, Manor College, Wilson College in Chambersburg, and the Pennsylvania Institute of Technology have all decided to freeze tuition.

It appears to be working. Many of the schools report enrollment numbers are going up. After Rosemont cut tuition and room and board, applications soared by 64 percent and actual enrollment jumped by nearly 15 percent.

The AICUP also launched the “Just Apply” campaign. The message: students just don’t know what the college will offer unless they apply.

“Many students will discover if they apply to private institutions that institution will cost maybe less, maybe the same, and maybe slightly more than a public institution,” Francis said.

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