Tuition at Elizabethtown College will take a 32 percent dive next fall under a new tuition model.
The new initiative, dubbed “Tuition Transparency,” will reduce tuition at the 1,671-student private institution from $46,940 in the 2018-19 academic year to $32,000 in 2019-20.
Down with it, however, will be the amount of financial aid students receive.
College President Carl Strikwerda said on Wednesday, Sept. 12, he hopes the shift will attract students from middle-class families who fail to see past Elizabethtown’s high sticker price.
“They don’t even apply because the tuition is so high,” Strikwerda said.
Many middle-income families don’t fully understand the high-tuition-high discount model implemented by most private colleges and, instead, opt for a public college that appears to be a better value, he said.
Undergraduate enrollment at Elizabethtown has dipped slightly over the last five years. Full-time enrollment was about 1,800 students in 2012-13.
“I think it positions us well to respond to the changes in the market,” Strikwerda said.
The average net price at Elizabethtown, according to the latest data from the National Center for Education Statistics, is about $29,000. That, Strikwerda said, likely won’t change much, as the proportion of aid given out will shift along with the tuition decrease.
Currently 98 percent of undergraduate students at Elizabethtown receive some type of aid, whether it be grants or scholarships. The average award given out is around $25,000. Strikwerda said the repayment rate is 97 percent.
Out-of-pocket tuition costs for current students will not be affected by the change, Strikwerda said, essentially resulting in a tuition freeze.
The college’s room and board costs, now at $11,370, will likely not see a decrease next year; however, Strikwerda said any increase will be below 3 percent.
Students interviewed between classes offered mixed emotions about the new tuition model.
Haley Prengaman, a senior studying computer science, said she hopes the initiative will bring in more students.
“I think it’s wonderful,” she said. “People will consider Elizabethtown a great option because it’s more affordable.”
Alec Leslie, a sophomore majoring in civil engineering, said the new sticker price might seem attractive to incoming students, but that means less financial aid for current students.
“It’s just going to cut everything else down I feel like,” he said.
Hunter Reiner, a sophomore studying engineering, shared the same skepticism.
“In the end, you’re not really benefiting much off of it,” he said.