Sewanee, the University of the South, Announces a Rare, Four-Year Tuition Guarantee (Blog)

Ann McClure's picture
Thursday, January 19, 2012

The University of the South, a liberal arts college also known as Sewanee, announced Tuesday that it would guarantee a four-year rate of tuition, room and board for the class entering the university next fall. Sewanee’s board of regents set the annual tuition and fees for incoming students at $44,630, and it should hold steady through the Spring 2016 semesters for students starting in 2012, the university said.

The move comes nearly a year after the school, located in Sewanee, Tenn., cut tuition by 10 percent. It later told students, in November 2011, that tuition rates would remain the same for the coming academic year, to make the college more affordable. (Such freezes run counter to the economic template followed by most institutions of higher education, and few private colleges have followed suit.)

John M. McCardell Jr., Sewanee’s vice chancellor and president, cited figures from the College Board and the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities as justification for the freeze. He said that average tuition had increased by about 4 percent a year over the past three years, so that graduating seniors would pay up to 20 per cent more in tuition than they had as freshmen.

“This tuition freeze represents a considerable savings over what families might have paid over that four-year period,” Mr. McCardell said in a video on Sewanee’s Web site. “And if you have any doubts, look at what our competition has been charging.”

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