Concordia University in St. Paul, Minn. is dropping its undergraduate tuition by $10,000 beginning in fall of 2013 for both new and returning students. The move will reset Concordia's tuition to what it was a decade ago – a 33 percent drop from $29,700 to $19,700.
Concordia hopes the tuition drop is the beginning of a trend at private colleges and universities.
"In resetting our tuition to a price last seen a decade ago, we are responding to the concerns of students and families who feel our nation's colleges have become unaffordable," said Rev. Tom Ries, president of Concordia. "We hope that other private colleges and universities will soon be able to follow our lead."
The university says no programs or services are being cut to accommodate the tuition reset, but the amount financial aid awarded to students will be reduced.
"After many years of prudent living within our means, we now have the fiscal capacity to reduce our tuition price without sacrificing the quality education Concordia is known for providing," said Ries. "We had record enrollment numbers and a higher academic profile for our entering class in 2012-13, so Concordia itself is currently in a position of strength. But the economic recession has eroded the financial situations of the students and families we serve, so we recognized the call to respond in keeping with our mission to provide an education of outstanding value at an affordable cost."
The tuition reset is "revenue neutral" for Concordia, given projected enrollment levels. The short-term cost to the university is being absorbed through operations, donations to the annual fund and endowment.
Concordia expects modest enrollment growth due to the elimination or reduction of cost barriers that currently prevent some students from choosing a private university.
"The tuition reset also makes Concordia a more viable option for students who don't qualify for need-based aid and are often forced to overlook private Christian higher education simply because of the high ‘sticker price," said Eric LaMott, Concordia's senior vice president and chief operating officer.