Belmont Abbey College Reduces Tuition Rather Than Raise It
It’s no news for college students that the price of a higher education is getting a bit ridiculous, to put it lightly. Colleges and universities across the country, even some like Cooper Union which have had a history of providing low-cost or free college education. But as the cost of tuition continues to rise at every other institution in the nation, one college in North Carolina is attempting something different: lowering their tuition by 33%.
In a move surely meant to attract students seeking to avoid paying an arm and a leg to get a four-year degree, Belmont Abbey College near Charlotte, North Carolina is reducing their tuition costs from $27,600 to $18,500 beginning next fall. According to William Thierfelder, president of Belmont Abbey, the decision to reduce tuition came as a result of the lack of appeal created by a high “sticker price” for the cost of attendance. By lowering tuition, families that lack the financial means to attend other private universities will instead be attracted t0 Belmont Abbey.
“It seemed a little bit like madness, with costs going up each year, We were raising tuition each year, only to give it back on the financial aid side to help students be able to afford it,” said Thierfelder. “It’s time to stop the madness.”
Thierfelder went on to admit that before this decision was made, Belmont Abbey had actually considered raising the costs of tuition further before asking himself “How can anyone afford this, and when does it stop?”
Thierfelder maintains that this tuition “reset” will not adversely affect the quality of education at Belmont Abbey, and that no major cuts to programs were planned, class sizes would not increase, and the athletics at Belmont Abbey would continue just as they had with the old tuition rate. Additionally, the lower cost of tuition would then in turn lead to lower amounts of financial aid given, which in turn would help offset the cost.
“Certainly we will recalculate financial aid proportionally, but by lowering [tuition], it’s a real benefit to the student. The actual price is lower. Even if they paid full boat, no one would pay more than $18,500. Before, our tuition was $27,600.”
When it comes to how other colleges have perceived Belmont Abbey’s tuition decrease, Thierfelder said that most other administrators tended to look at it as a step in the right direction rather than folly.
“When I tell people we’re doing this, they don’t say ‘that’s crazy’, they say ‘that’s great, why isn’t everybody doing this?’”