Higher Education Eyes Freezing Tuition

Colleges are waiving tuition increases due to the pandemic

The College of William and Mary, hoping to court new applicants even as a financial crisis grips the world, has announced a rollback of the 3 percent tuition increase it previously put in place due to the coronavirus pandemic, according to CNBC.

It isn’t alone — Delaware Valley University in Pennsylvania, Kansas City University and Central Michigan University are also considering similarly unchanged rates in order to offer an olive branch to students and families struggling due to the virus and the costly rates of higher education.

Tuition usually rises around 3 percent every year, with governmental cuts to higher education spurring the extra costs and making it harder for students to afford.

Over the past decade, private school tuition has risen by 26 percent on average, while public school tuition has spiked 35 percent, with growing colleges’ fees leading to more debt.

Central Michigan University president Robert Davies said he knew if his school did the tuition freeze during the pandemic, others might follow. Michigan has been hit with some of the most extreme job loss numbers because of the pandemic, and Davies said the school wanted to keep education “within the reach of every student.”

CMU’s plan for the post-pandemic world also includes deferred payment plans and guaranteed on-campus employment.

Davies said the last time CMU instituted a freeze on tuition was in 1993.

Colleges have been hit hard by the pandemic, with students relegated to remote-learning classes that many say aren’t worth the prices they paid to attend. Some students have filed lawsuits in attempts to get their money back.

Flywire CEO Mike Massaro told PYMNTS that the future of colleges was up in the air as of right now, and the incentive of students to return to campuses would likely depend on location and how the government in each respective place is dealing with the pandemic.

Massaro said the future for colleges would likely involve more flexible payment technologies and strategies, being that the majority of peoples’ financial situations may not be what they once were.