Ashland University, a private institution in Ohio, is joining a small but growing group of colleges that have sharply cut their tuition while also reducing the amount of institutional aid they offer, to come up with a sticker price that’s closer to what students actually pay. That strategy is one of many that smaller institutions are exploring to try to ease concerns about college costs and shore up enrollments.
Instead of being charged an estimated $30,000 for the 2014-15 academic year, the roughly 3,200 undergraduates at Ashland will pay a little less than $19,000—a decrease of 37 percent. And while the university is also reducing the institutional financial aid it offers, it says it is still lowering the net price that most students will pay.
The changes in tuition and aid are meant to reduce the sticker shock that potential students and parents might experience when weighing Ashland against other college choices, campus officials said in a news release.
“Ashland’s new price will better reflect what students actually pay, and we believe it will lead to more prospective students considering our university,” Scott Van Loo, vice president for enrollment management and marketing, said in a written statement.
Similar moves have been made by at least a half dozen colleges in recent years, including Alaska Pacific University, Concordia University St. Paul, Seton Hall University, and Sewanee: the University of the South.
Correction (8/28/2013, 12:11 p.m.): This article originally spelled inconsistently the name of the university that cut its tuition. It is Ashland, not Ashford. The article has been updated to reflect this correction.