10 Colleges Actually Lowering the Cost of Tuition

The cost of attending college usually moves in only one direction: up, and often quickly.

(Image credit: Thinkstock)

The cost of attending college usually moves in only one direction: up, and often quickly. Over the past 30 years, the cost of tuition and fees, adjusted for inflation, has increased by a cumulative 146% at private, nonprofit four-year colleges and 225% for in-state students at public four-year colleges.

But some schools are bucking that trend. In recent years, a growing group of mostly small and midsize private colleges and universities have slashed the price of tuition. And in June 2015, Washington’s state legislature approved tuition cuts for in-state students of 5% to 20% over the next two years at the state’s public colleges and universities, including a 5% cut at community colleges and technical schools. Several schools have already announced tuition cuts for the 2016-17 academic year; you’ll likely see more schools back away from their jaw-dropping sticker prices as they cut tuition in the hope of attracting a larger pool of applicants.

Note: Cutting tuition will soothe sticker shock, but it may not fatten your wallet. Often the newly reduced prices are closer to what some students were already paying after factoring in financial aid. Because tuition cuts are usually accompanied by a decrease in the school's financial aid spending, students who receive generous financial aid awards will typically see little change in the net price that they pay. Families who are paying full freight and students who qualify for very little aid will see larger savings at colleges that cut tuition.

Here are 10 colleges that have cut tuition for the 2015-16 or 2016-17 academic year. Take a look.

Kaitlin Pitsker
Associate Editor, Kiplinger's Personal Finance
Pitsker joined Kiplinger in the summer of 2012. Previously, she interned at the Post-Standard newspaper in Syracuse, N.Y., and with Chronogram magazine in Kingston, N.Y. She holds a BS in magazine journalism from Syracuse University's S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications.