- Ohio State University will cut 70% of course fees while expanding in-state tuition to out-of-state military, veterans and their immediate family members, among other measures intended to save the students $1.9 million annually, Cleveland.com reported.
- Other measures approved by university trustees last month include waiving the cost of credit hours taken for an internship or research and launching a pilot program with the College of Social Work to offer lower-cost digital textbooks.
- The changes stem from a strategic plan set in 2017 that included the input of 500 OSU leaders and 1,000 online responses from across the campus community. Among their concerns was the ability to offer top-notch, affordable education and promote economic diversity.
Higher education institutions are actively looking for ways to make a college education more affordable, and cutting tuition and fees is one approach. The University of the Cumberlands, in Southeastern Kentucky, said it will cut on-campus undergraduate tuition by 57% in an effort to attract new students who were previously not considering the university. It's worth noting, however, that the campus has more than six times as many graduate students as undergraduates, Inside Higher Ed reported.
Champlain College, in Burlington, Vermont, announced similar plans for its online students this year, cutting undergraduate tuition for adult students in half. The college hopes the cut will increase the number of enrolled students from 3,500 to 5,000 by the year 2020.
The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, meanwhile, is focusing its student acquisition and retention strategy on in-state students whose family income is at or below the state median by offering free tuition and basic fees. The university and a bipartisan group of lawmakers is doing this as part of a strategy to make it cost-competitive with out-of-state options that draw students with scholarships.
Cutting student tuition may not be the best approach for all higher education institutions. Tuition discounts at private colleges and universities are estimated to reach an all-time high during the 2017-18 academic year, according to the National Association of Colleges and University Business Officers. Critics argue that such heavy reliance on discounting slows tuition revenue growth and cuts into institutions' margins as the number of students with high need continues to grow.