Private Colleges Offering More Financial Aid than Ever

Lynn Russo Whylly's picture

Call it the couponing of higher education. After years of skyrocketing tuition costs, many private colleges in the United States are ramping up their financial aid packages in an attempt to attract new students and boost sagging enrollments.

For freshmen entering school in 2012, the average “tuition discount rate” – the amount of grant and scholarship money given by schools toward tuition – was 45%, an all-time high, according to a survey of 383 private, non-profit four-year colleges released Monday by the National Association of College and University Business Officers (NACUBO). Those substantial discounts, offered in the form of merit scholarships and need-based aid, are meant to lure cash-strapped students who might not otherwise think of private schools as a viable financial option.C

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