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Tuition discounts at private nonprofit colleges reach new highs, study finds

Tuition discounts at private nonprofit colleges reach new highs, study finds

Higher Ed Dive

Natalie Schwartz
May 15, 2024
Dive Brief: 
  • Private nonprofit colleges discounted tuition more in the 2023-24 academic year than ever before, rising to an average rate of 56.1% for first-time, full-time students, according to preliminary estimates from the National Association of College and University Business Officers.
  • That’s up from 54.8% during the prior academic year, marking years of steady increases. Projections show the discount rate for all undergraduates also ticked up to 51.9% in 2023-24, rising from 50.8% in the previous year.
  • Meanwhile, net tuition and fee revenue from first-time, full-time undergraduates fell by 1% in the 2022-23 academic year after adjusting for inflation. This decline comes after a whopping 5.4% decrease in this revenue source in the year before, according to NACUBO.
Dive Insight: 
NACUBO’s latest study, based on a sample of 325 private nonprofit colleges, shows at least a decade of steadily climbing tuition discounts. Kara Freeman, NACUBO’s president and CEO described tuition discounting as a key strategy to make private college affordable for students and their families.
“This year’s study shows that while institutions continue to deal with economic and pandemic-related headwinds, affordability remains a priority as they work to put higher education within reach for their students,” Freeman said in a statement.
However, some higher education experts have criticized how colleges communicate their prices to students.
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