Paying for College

Colleges Slash Sticker Prices

But lower published prices may not save you money.

The cost of attending college usually moves in one direction: up, and often quickly. Over the past decade, the published cost of tuition and fees has increased 27% at private not-for-profit four-year colleges and 41% for in-state students at four-year public colleges. But a growing number of colleges have been reversing the trend by slashing their sticker prices.

More than three dozen mostly small and midsize private colleges have announced tuition cuts since 2011. This fall, Drew University announced that it would reduce the cost of tuition for the 2018–19 academic year by 20%, and Birmingham-Southern College cut its sticker price by more than 50%. Look for more schools to announce similar price cuts as states, such as New York, pursue programs to make public college tuition-free for in-state students, says David Warren, president of the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities. Many schools hope the change will make them appear more affordable and will attract more applicants.

But a cut in tuition or other published costs may not save you much money. Often, the reduced sticker prices are closer to what many students were already paying after factoring in financial aid. The main beneficiaries will be families that qualify for little or no aid.

Most Popular

Yes, You Can Collect Social Security from an Ex-Spouse: Here’s How
social security

Yes, You Can Collect Social Security from an Ex-Spouse: Here’s How

It’s always smart to maximize your Social Security benefits, and if you are divorced, one way to do that might be to take them based on your ex’s earn…
May 13, 2021
Updated Exclusive Social Security Benefits Forecast: COLA Likely to Jump to 4.5% in 2022
Economic Forecasts

Updated Exclusive Social Security Benefits Forecast: COLA Likely to Jump to 4.5% in 2022

This would be the largest cost-of-living adjustment for Social Security benefits since 2008.
May 12, 2021
Child Tax Credit 2021: Who Gets $3,600? Will I Get Monthly Payments? And Other FAQs
Coronavirus and Your Money

Child Tax Credit 2021: Who Gets $3,600? Will I Get Monthly Payments? And Other FAQs

People have lots of questions about the new $3,000 or $3,600 child tax credit and the advance payments that the IRS will send to most families in 2021…
May 4, 2021

Recommended

Estate-Planning Your Stuff with T. Eric Reich
Empty Nesters

Estate-Planning Your Stuff with T. Eric Reich

What to do with the house, the vacation house and the china? We talk with a financial adviser who's got some wise counsel. Also, who makes up the so-c…
May 2, 2021
What You Need to Know about College 529 Savings Plans
529 Plans

What You Need to Know about College 529 Savings Plans

Do you know how much you’re able to contribute or what the funds could be used to pay for? How about how contributing affects your taxes? Check out th…
April 14, 2021
How to Pay Off $130,000 in Parent PLUS Loans for Just $33,000
Paying for College

How to Pay Off $130,000 in Parent PLUS Loans for Just $33,000

Meet Nate. He took out $130,000 in Parent PLUS loans for his kids. The standard repayment plan will cost him over $170,000. But some smart strategizin…
April 12, 2021
37 Ways to Earn Extra Cash in 2021
business

37 Ways to Earn Extra Cash in 2021

We flag a wide variety of cool side hustles to earn bonus bucks to cover expenses expected and unexpected as we begin to emerge from the pandemic lock…
April 8, 2021