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Warning! – Double Digit Tuition Increases Ahead


The title of this article could probably reflect what a street sign would look like if it were placed near a campus that was getting prepared to hike tuition rates by at least 10%…or more.

Tuition increases have far outpaced inflation over the years but I have been a little hopeful lately as I see more and more colleges implementing modest to no increase in their tuition rate. That was of course until I got news about some recent bumps in tuition that students will be feeling next academic year in their wallets.

The first is Temple University, found in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. They recently announced that they will be increasing tuition by 10 percent for in-state students and 5.4 percent for out-of-state students for the coming academic year. The percentage increase impact in dollars comes to about $1,200. The total in-state tuition at Temple will be $13,006 and the out-of-state tuition will be $22,832.

The second is the University of Tennessee college system. The trustees recently voted in approval of a 12 percent tuition increase at their main campus. This will bring the Knoxville campus’s annual tuition rate to $8,396. Ten percent increases were also approved for the satellite campuses located in Martin and Chattanooga.

To the credit of each of these Universities, the double digit increases were not adopted without hesitation and it does appear that a decrease in state funding is to blame in each situation (or at least that is what University officials are claiming)… Of course, I have already offered my solution to all the state budget woes and the impact it has on education funding for colleges.

If you are a student that is attending one of the colleges above, or you just find yourself having a difficult time absorbing the tuition increases at your school, I encourage you to check out this article for help in dealing with rising college costs. Also, it never hurts to browse over our College Resource Center for additional assistance and ideas.

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Tuition Freeze is Thawing Out at MCAD


You may remember that last year I wrote an article about how the Minneapolis College of Art and Design was implementing a tuition freeze for the first time in a number of years. President Jay Coogan stated that the tuition freeze would only be for a year and that a minimal increase was probable for the subsequent year.  Keeping true to his word, President Coogan just announced a tuition increase for the 2011-2012 academic year. One of our readers recently sent me a copy of the letter emailed to MCAD families this last week. You can read it in entirety below.

In response to the letter, I think that a 3% increase in tuition is pretty good given the double digit increases that we see popping up across the nation. I also like how they directly associated their increase to that of inflation for the past couple of years (1.5% each year).  Not many schools are quick to compare their tuition increases to the rate of inflation (probably because they exceed it every year). So, I give credit to Coogan and MCAD for their comparative analogy.

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If you (or your student) go to a college or University that experienced a tuition increase (or decrease) that was historically significant, please don’t hesitate to pass the announcement letter or video onto me to share with our readers at CheapScholar.org. It could be great exposure for your college and it also helps to keep our readers in the loop of what is happening with tuition expenses in higher education.

MCAD Tuition Increase Letter

To all students:

I am writing to let you know that the Board of Trustees of the Minneapolis College of Art and Design has set tuition for 2011-12 academic year at $30,385; this is a 3% increase over the current year’s tuition of $29,500.

Over the past several years MCAD’s tuition increases have been among the lowest of art and design schools and private colleges in the country. Last year the Board took the unprecedented step of holding the tuition level from the previous year. When averaged out over two academic years, the 3% increase amounts to an annual increase of 1.5%; this is comparable with the nation’s overall rate of inflation.

In setting the amount for next year’s tuition we have kept two key objectives in mind:

1.     Keeping the increase as modest as possible so as to minimize the impact on MCAD students and families.

2.     Continuing to invest in the resources that help us maintain a high quality education. We believe this investment ensures the best possible programs and facilities to support our educational programs.

Members of the MCAD Board and I all understand the cost of attending a private art college creates a financial challenge for you and your families. Many of us faced similar challenges in attending college and all of us respect the sacrifices required. In order to help, MCAD is adding an additional $167,000 of institutional financial aid for the coming academic year.

Like all colleges, MCAD depends on fundraising to meet the financial needs of it students. The college has initiated the Students First Scholarship Challenge to provide currently enrolled students with additional financial aid. We are close to meeting this year’s goal of raising $100,000 from alumni, parents, and other donors in new and increased gifts—which will be matched by the Board for a total of $200,000 in increased scholarship funds. We hope to raise a similar amount of new funds this coming year.

MCAD is a place where creativity meets purpose. We are committed to spending your tuition dollars wisely in order to provide you with the best possible art and design education and help you achieve your goals as you transform your creative passions into meaningful careers and work in the world.

Sincerely,

Jay Coogan

President

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Princeton University Sets The Pace For Tuition Increases


The Board of Directors and Board of Regents for many colleges and universities will convene over the next quarter to establish the tuition rates for their respective institutions for the coming year. While we would all prefer to experience tuition freezes, or even better yet, tuition decreases, the fact of the matter is that the majority of schools will be increasing tuition and fees for the next academic year.

Princeton University is the first school that I have seen come forward and announce what the impact on tuition will be for their incoming and returning students next year. And I must say that I am pleasantly surprised.

Princeton is going to increase tuition and room charges by 1% and meal plans will receive a 2% bump. So, an undergraduate that plans to live on campus next year can expect to pay a total of $49,069. ($37,000 for tuition, $6596 for the dorm room,  and $5473 for the meal plan) This is just the sticker price because we all know that Princeton is one of the top financial aid schools in the country.

Provost Christopher Eisgruber shared the following statement: “In a year when Princeton had done relatively well and many families continued to struggle, we felt it appropriate to hold down the increase to the fee package to levels consistent with the very low inflation rates experienced by the university.”

So the question that comes to mind for new and returning students across the nation, is Princeton’s approach on a minimal tuition increase going to be the litmus test for how other schools move forward with their individual rate adjustments in the coming year? In a world of double digit tuition increases, I guess time will tell but I personally remain optimistic! 😉

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This Guy Is Fired Up About Tuition Costs (video)


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Unique Take On College Costs


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Want To Avoid Tuition Increases? Here Are 5 Tips!


Tuition increases seem to be as common on campuses across the nation as flip-flops are in the middle of winter on college students. The cost of tuition going up is just something that you can inevitably rely upon. So, as tuition costs are rising what are some things that you can do to help keep yourself immune from those fee increases?  I have a couple of ideas to share with you.

  1. Pay For College Upfront: Some colleges still provide the opportunity for you to pay for all four years up front and allow you to lock-in the rate of tuition being charged to your student for their first year. Obviously you have to have some serious cash stashed away to go this route but it could be an option to avoid the unknown tuition percentage increases for subsequent years.
  2. Lock In A Semesterly Tuition Rate With Your School: Let’s assume that your college of choice has historically increased tuition by an average of 8% for the past 10 years. Based upon this past performance, you can probably estimate that tuition increases may be similar for the next 4-5 years. Instead of getting hit with that full increase over the course of four years, you offer to pay a premium tuition rate to the school that averages a little higher for the first two years but ends up being lower than the actual cost of tuition the last two years. The magic number for the tuition rate is something you can hash out with the school but chances are they may be willing to work with you if it means your financial happiness and that your student will remain a student at the college for all four years.
  3. Look for Tuition Guarantees: A handful of schools across the nation provide a tuition freeze for all incoming students. Basically stating that whatever you pay for tuition your first year will be the same amount you are charged during your last year. To date, I have only found thirteen colleges that provide this type of program.
  4. Pre-Paid College Savings Programs: Years ago this used to be extremely popular and many states were offering programs that allowed you to purchase credits (course credit hours) at the going rate and then guaranteed them to still be worth a credit hour regardless of when you cashed them in (ten years from now or twenty!). Basically, it locked in your tuition rate at the time of purchase/investment and allowed you to be carefree in regard tuition increases. Unfortunately, after all the turbulence in the stock market, many of those programs have either ceased to exist or have restructured to ensure their existence for the long-haul. Independent 529 seems to be one of the few that are still guaranteeing investors the opportunity to lock in today’s tuition rates at over 270 private colleges in the nation.
  5. Go To Work For A College: If you have a student that is coming up through the ranks of high school and you are not committed to your current career, you can always try to land a job at your local college or university. Typically, most schools provide some sort of tuition remission benefit for their employees that allows their kids to go to school for free (or at least without tuition expense).  This approach not only helps you avoid tuition increases but it also helps you to eliminate the cost altogether.

Regardless of your financial resources, I hope that one of these five options can be applicable to your situation and help to keep your exposure to tuition increases at a minimum as your student makes their way off to college.

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Massachusetts Students Brace For Record Tuition Increase


Last year the University of Massachusetts adopted a 15.8 percent increase on tuition. However, this was on paper only because at the same time they implemented this tuition increase, they also provided students with a one time “rebate” of $1,100 to offset the $1,500 increase (netting students with only a $400 increase last year). This coming academic year the one-time rebate is following suit with it’s intent of being ONE-TIME ONLY and will not be available to students and thus they will be absorbing the full 15.8 percent increase that was put into place last year.  Is that clear? I know.. clear as mud…

Basically, the trustees for UMass are keeping tuition and fees the same (a freeze) as last year but they are not providing the additional discounting (rebate) so the bottom-line cost for the families is increasing. The tuition freeze part of that statement sounds great but the end result is not so palpable for families and students that are trying to make education affordable.

After the Board of Trustees for UMass approved the tuition freeze for next year, UMass president Jack Wilson stated that: “I don’t think there was much of a prospect to lower the fees. I think it was a great achievement not to have an additional fee increase over that which we had established last year.’’

The new tuition and fee rate for the 2010-2011 academic year for Massachusetts residents is $11,732 and room and board charges are $8,814. Out of state residents can anticipate paying $23,628 for tuition.

If you are a University of Massachusetts student and you find yourself scrambling to try and make ends meet and cover your increased tuition expenses, please don’t hesitate to use CheapScholar.org as a resource for ideas to help lighten the impact on your checkbook.

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Virginia Colleges Raise Tuition & State Reduces Grants


Virginia has 15 public four-year colleges and universities canvasing the state and providing educational opportunities to tens of thousands of students.  Given the large cuts in taxpayer support (state subsidies), these students will now be getting the benefit of paying more for their tuition at all of these schools for the upcoming 2010-2011 academic year (a current list of tuition and fees can be found below).

Governor Bob McDonnell recognizes that annual increases in tuition will not be able to sustain the multi-million dollar budgets of these educational institutions for the long-term. His approach to a solution is to create an education commission consisting of college presidents and legislative law makers. They will be charged with the responsibility of creating and presenting a proposal by the end of November that will change the outlook of the budget stricken public colleges and universities in Virginia without adding extra expense to the tax payers and extra tuition (steep) increases to students. Certainly sounds like they have a tough task ahead of them. If they need a solution though, they can always follow suit with Zimbabwe’s proposal…

The information above only impacts those students attending Virginia’s public colleges and universities. However, it appears that students attending private institutions of higher education will not be without cuts as well. The Virginia Tuition Assistance Grant program awards state funded money to all Virginia residents that choose to go to private schools in the state of Virginia.  They recently announced that each qualifying student will still get an award but it will now be reduced by $400. It is estimated that this reduction will impact approximately 22,000 Virginia students.

If you are a student attending a college or university in the state of Virginia, feel free to check out my college affordability article to help give you some ideas on how to reduce the impact that these tuition increases and grant decreases have on your bottom line. In addition, don’t hesitate to check out my tips on finding scholarships.

Here is a list of the 15 public colleges and universities in Virginia and their expected tuition expenses for the coming 2010-2011 academic year:

  • Virginia Military Institute: $12,328 ($19,460 including mandatory room and board)
  • College of William and Mary: $12,188
  • University of Virginia: $10,628
  • Longwood University: $9,855
  • Virginia Tech: $9,589
  • Christopher Newport University: $9,250
  • Virginia Commonwealth University: $8,817
  • George Mason University: $8,686
  • University of Mary Washington: $7,862
  • James Madison University: $7,860
  • Old Dominion University: $7,708
  • Radford University: $7,694
  • University of Virginia College at Wise: $7,194
  • Virginia State University: $6,570
  • Norfolk State University: $6,226

Here are in-state rates at two-year public colleges:

  • J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College: $109.60 per credit hour
  • John Tyler Community College: $107.50 per credit hour
  • Richard Bland College: $3,284 (annual)
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