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Articles: Tuition

14 percent of students started their postsecondary education in a community college, then transferred to a four-year school and earned a bachelor’s degree within six years of entry.

SERVING THE UNDERSERVED—Terrence Murphy Hall (back right) on the downtown Minneapolis campus of the University of St. Thomas will house the two-year Dougherty Family College beginning this fall.

Dougherty Family College, a two-year school, will open on the Minneapolis campus of the University of St. Thomas this fall, thanks to $18 million in private donations.

solidarity—About 300 students participated in an Amherst College protest against President Trump’s proposed policies regarding undocumented immigrants. (Takudzwa Tapfuma for The Amherst Student)

President Donald Trump has made immigration reform a centerpiece of his young administration. New policies include banning travelers from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the U.S., and a plan to deport millions of undocumented immigrants.

Paul Drayton, president of Rowan College at Burlington County in New Jersey, says higher education remains far too expensive for many students who are most dependent on it for career success.

“College is more important than ever for career success, yet too expensive for far too many students. 3+1 provides all the benefits of both community colleges and four-year universities while lowering the tuition and debt burden on students and increasing our capacity to serve more students at both community colleges and universities. This is the future model of college affordability.”

American higher education in 2016 faced increased pressure on performance. Colleges and universities were also being pushed to eliminate administrative and academic silos to help students of all ages and backgrounds succeed. Here’s a look back at what made headlines in higher ed this past year and how campuses responded.

Keeping student tuition and fees down is the top priority for 2017 selected by campus CFOs and other finance department administrators in a UB survey—yet tuition revenue and nontuition student fees are the biggest anticipated funding categories for the coming year.

Enrollment declines will be the most pressing concern keeping presidents and other top officials up at night in 2017. Seven in 10 who responded to a UB survey named it as the area with the greatest potential for causing the institution financial or reputational harm. State budget cuts, at 44 percent, are the next biggest worry for the 66 responding presidents, provosts and chancellors. 

Public funding levels and the various approaches to affordability—from debt-free college to private-sector loans—will continue to dominate higher ed debates in and outside campus administrative offices.

A greater level of accountability around access and outcomes looms on the horizon for higher ed administrators in 2017 and beyond. Experts across the ideological spectrum predict the federal government and the general public to demand more transparency in the data released about how graduates of specific campus programs fare in the job market. 

Recent regulations from the Department of Education improve protection for student borrowers targeted by misleading or predatory practices, and establish a clear path for loan forgiveness in instances of institutional fraud or misconduct—an issue financial aid experts say will impact both for-profits and nonprofits.

Bill Berg is an enrollment management consultant at Ruffalo Noel Levitz.

By 2015, the number of law school applicants declined by 46 percent from a 2004 peak, a result of a shrinking job market and “offshoring” of some legal work. Most law schools were forced to change the way they recruited, admitted, awarded and enrolled students to respond to the drop.

In an era in which every college or university expense must be scrutinized, tuition remission policy details may be worth analyzing. (Click to enlarge)

Almost 90 percent of colleges and universities offer tuition remission benefits to their employees and employees’ dependents. And with college tuition costs skyrocketing, that benefit has become increasingly sought-after—but expensive for the institution.

While many institutions that examine their tuition remission spending wind up reining in spending in this area, some schools are actually increasing the benefit to better recruit and retain top-notch talent.

Last year, leaders at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota, increased the tuition benefit for employees’ spouses and children from 75 percent to full coverage. Employees themselves already received 100 percent remission.

Former Ivy Tech president Tom Snyder's Snyder’s book, "The Community College Solution," portrays community colleges as the true pathway to the American dream.

Former Ivy Tech president Tom Snyder's Snyder’s book, The Community College Solution, portrays community colleges as the true pathway to the American dream. But more important, it is a pathway not burdened by overwhelming debt.

Free tuition is the linchpin of a Democratic higher ed platform that many observers describe as more comprehensive than the plans touted by Donald Trump and the Republican Party (Click to enlarge)

Free tuition anchors Hillary Clinton's higher ed platform while Donald Trump wants banks to handle student loans. In a survey, UB readers showed little enthusiasm for either proposal.

Thomas J. Botzman is president of Misericordia University.

My institution, Misericordia University in Pennsylvania, received a solid, but uninspiring B- on Forbes "America’s Top Colleges 2016." After reviewing the criteria, though, it appears our letter grade represents who we aspire to be as it fits our long-held mission of serving first-generation students and others in need.

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