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Articles: Tuition

States not in compliance with The Choice Act risk losing GI Bill funding. (Click to enlarge)

States that have not offered veterans discounted tuition at public universities are now required by law to do so, reflecting the oft-nomadic lifestyle of vets and their need for greater access to higher education.

In-state tuition for this group, which includes 17 states and the District of Columbia, became nationally mandated on July 1, 2015, through a new provision of the GI Bill known as the Veterans Access, Choice and Accountability Act (since dubbed the “Choice Act”).

Brian Hazlett is vice president of student affairs and enrollment management, and Roger Bruszewski is vice president of finance and administration at Millersville University of Pennsylvania.

It has been said that it takes a village to raise a child. To make a huge change at a university, it takes the entire village, a.k.a. a really good team, to make it happen. Here’s our story.

Millersville University of Pennsylvania has 7,500 undergraduates, 1,000 graduate students, seven unions representing faculty and staff, and a $152 million budget.

Steven R. DiSalvo is president of Saint Anselm College in New Hampshire.

Hillary Clinton’s recently announced $350 billion plan to offer free tuition for public colleges and universities has merit, but does not apply across the board and would require additional appropriations from Congress.

Clinton and all the 2016 presidential candidates should absolutely be focused on this issue, but from a wider perspective. We must look for alternatives to tuitions reaching as high as $250,000 and $1.2 trillion in outstanding student loan debt in the U.S.

Consumer advocacy groups support new financial-aid payment rules that have raised concerns.

Colleges and universities using third-party providers to process students’ Title IV payments face changes aimed at giving students more choice in receiving financial aid dollars. A new federal proposal could especially affect institutions that issue tuition refunds directly to students’ debit cards.

If it’s finalized as is by Nov. 1, The Department of Education proposed rule on campus debit cards and Title IV payments will have a major impact on third-party service providers.

Some of the regulations in the rule include restrictions on fees and limitations on access to student information. It would also require schools to issue paper checks as an option, even if they’ve already gone paperless.

Bill Berg is an enrollment management consultant at Scannell & Kurz, a RuffaloCODY company.

A family’s willingness to pay for a college education relies heavily on an institution’s ability to articulate return on investment. Discounting tuition through scholarships and other financial aid is the most common approach to increasing a college’s perceived value, as these strategies reduce the net cost to the family.

“Parents need a thorough understanding of the costs related to college and the options for paying college expenses. The need for timely, understandable information is especially acute in households with no previous experience with the going-to-college process. Colleges often assume parents already have knowledge about budgeting for college, the cost of student loans and effective repayment strategies, so they often don’t address these issues when they provide parents with information.”

—George Covino, vice president of consulting, USA Funds

Starbucks made headlines last spring as more than just a campus hot spot when it announced a free college tuition plan for its employees. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and health insurance company Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield have now followed suit, and Starbucks has expanded its program.

While each corporation is partnering with a specific higher ed institution, the plans and stipulations vary:

Seniors line up by Sweet Briar’s library prior to commencement. (Photo: Photo by Andrew Locascio/Sweet Briar College)

While higher ed leaders acknowledge a range of challenges, many say the shutting down of the 532-student Virginia women’s college does not signal doom for small institutions, including those that are single-sex, rural or religiously affiliated.

Donald Farish, president of Roger Williams University, will deliver a keynote at the UBThrive conference in June.

People often go to college for the wrong reasons, with assumptions about how it’s going to benefit them, says Donald Farish, president of Roger Williams University. An outspoken proponent of access and affordability, Farish—who will speak at the new UBThrive program this June—says colleges and students need to be more realistic about what to expect.

College ranking systems are typically viewed as unreliable metrics, often accused of practicing favoritism based on questionable criteria that varies by publisher.

In an attempt to provide an unbiased and informed resource for prospective students and their families, the Obama administration has formulated its own version of a college ranking system.

President Barack Obama is not acting like someone whose party suffered heavy defeats in the recent midterm election. Last month he previewed America’s College Promise, an ambitious plan that could help his earlier goal of increasing the number of college graduates to become a reality.

“Put simply, I’d like to see the first two years of community college be free for everyone who is willing to work for it,” Obama said in making the announcement. “It is something we can accomplish and it’s something that will train our workforce so we can compete with anyone in the word.”

Donald Farish, president of Roger Williams University, predicts nonprofit private colleges will continue to increase both tuition and discount rates in 2015. Farish will deliver a keynote at the UBThrive conference in June.

Presidents and other thought leaders look ahead on cost, technology, learning and the other big issues in higher education.

A majority of higher ed leaders expect modest to significant increases in tuition revenue in 2015. (Click to enlarge chart)

Multiple forces are pushing institutions to change from the financial status quo. Institutions are feeling more pressure to advocate for state higher ed funding, prove their value to students and support the simplification of debt repayment. Yet some campus leaders might just be fine with the opportunities that scrutiny can bring, and in many cases, administrators are meeting those challenges.

There are few economic challenges that move the dial in America quite like the skyrocketing costs of higher ed. From early morning pundits to late night talk shows the student and family debt burden issue is clear and ever present.

In the view of U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren - "Rising student-loan debt is an economic emergency…Forty million people are dealing with $1.2 trillion in outstanding student debt. It's stopping young people from buying homes, from buying cars and from starting small businesses. We need to take action."