The College Tuition Freeze: A New Trend?

These days it can sometimes feel like colleges are raising their tuition rates even faster than you can send them a check.

After all, tuition increases are well outpacing the growth of inflation.

Each year, it seems, it’s the same thing: “College X will increase tuition 5 percent next year to help pay for new office buildings. College Y’s tuition will jump 10 percent due to budget cuts.”

Fortunately, more and more schools are taking steps to minimize their students’ already extreme financial burden, such as instituting tuition freezes… the focus of today’s story.

– Scott

Is a Freeze in College Tuition Catching On?

Tuition hikes have gotten so out of control that President Obama had to threaten to cut federal funding for higher education in an attempt to force schools to find a way to cap the escalation.

In all fairness, universities and colleges, just like any business, feel the sting of recession and must find ways to tighten their belts and maintain revenue.

Unfortunately, this generally translates to raising the sticker price.

Furthermore, with only a few thousand degree-granting schools for millions of students with collegiate aspirations, things get very competitive.

If a school wants to stay relevant and in demand, they must spend money on facilities that will bring in high-quality faculty, which in turn means more students spending money to attend.

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The old adage, “you have to spend money to make money” certainly holds true, but it is a delicate balance. As most schools are raising tuition to finance national relevancy, families are struggling to keep up.

Some colleges are starting to get the message and are exploring ways to ease that burden. Thus, tuition freezes are becoming more common than ever before.

A tuition freeze is when a school commits to not raising their entrance fees for a certain period of time (usually for a few years). They look for other ways to balance their budget that have less of a direct impact on the wallets of their students.

Institutions that utilize such policies can also generate a great deal of positive P.R. that can help lead to higher enrollment rates, which in turn can help offset the financial hit they take from freezing tuition.

Other similar techniques include actually cutting tuition, as well as level tuition freezes where a student is guaranteed to pay the same price for all four years of school, even as the cost increases for subsequent classes.

For schools that want to maintain a socioeconomically diverse student body, steps like these are essential to sustain affordability and avoid economic segregation.

Some schools, such as Mount Holyoke and Sewanee: The School of the South, have pioneered tuition freezes lately… and have seen immediate benefits in enrollment.

It might be catching on—an unprecedented 24 private, four-year institutions froze tuition in 2012.

However, there are critics who say that freezing tuition can actually harm the students it is meant to help. They believe that students for whom paying for college is well within reach at any price will benefit, while those who struggle to afford higher education will suffer as financial aid is cut to make up for lost revenue.

So, will the college tuition freeze become a trend? We’ll keep you updated in future College Made Simple stories.

To your college admissions success,

Scott Weingold

Co-Founder, College Planning Network LLC

Publisher, CollegeMadeSimple.com – The free educational resource of College Planning Network

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Editor's Note: Scott Weingold has been ranked the #1 “College Financial Aid Expert Worth Knowing About” in the entire country by CollegeStats.org.  He has co-authored the book, “The Real Secret To Paying For College. The Insider’s Guide To Sending Your Child To College – Without Spending Your Life’s Savings.” Scott also publishes a popular free online newsletter, “College Funding Made Simple" which reveals insider’s tips, methods, and strategies for beating the high cost of college.

Scott is the co-founder and a principal of the widely renown College Planning Network, LLC – the nation’s largest and most reputable college admissions and financial aid planning firm. CPN is a proud member of the Better Business Bureau, the National Association of College Funding Advisors, the National Association for College Admission Counseling, the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators and the Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education.

Scott, along with his college funding advisory team, helps thousands of families throughout the country with their college planning needs and offers a series of free educational webinars and workshops on “How To Pay For College Without Going Broke In The Process!” He's been featured or mentioned in The Philadelphia Inquirer, Yahoo News, TheStreet.com, Voice America with Ron Adams, Crains Cleveland Business, and on Cleveland Connection with James McIntyre.  Scott has published numerous articles and is a professional speaker who has addressed thousands of audiences online and offline throughout the United States.  His actionable insights and candid, open approach have earned him & his team numerous media interviews, citations, and speaking opportunities, and his free online video workshop is one of the Internet’s most widely viewed pieces in the college funding space.