Price-Matching Programs Arrive On College Campuses

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The UMaine Flagship Match Program "guarantees academically qualified, first-year students from several states will pay the same tuition and fee rate as their home state’s flagship institution." (Alex Schroeder/On Point)
The UMaine Flagship Match Program "guarantees academically qualified, first-year students from several states will pay the same tuition and fee rate as their home state’s flagship institution." (Alex Schroeder/On Point)

With Meghna Chakrabarti

Some colleges say they’ll match tuition at rival schools. We’ll add up the dollars and costs.


Melissa Korn, higher education reporter for The Wall Street Journal. (@melissakorn)

Larry Schall, president of Oglethorpe University.

Jeffrey Hecker, executive vice president for academic affairs and provost for the University of Maine.

Sabrina Manville, co-founder of Edmit, a startup that calculates personalized tuition estimates for students. (@sabrinamanville)

From The Reading List

Wall Street Journal: "In Race for Students, Colleges Offer to Match Tuition at Rival Schools" — "Escalating the heated battle for students, some private colleges are offering to match public in-state tuition.

"Oglethorpe University near Atlanta will match the tuition of any state flagship university for high-achieving students, and Robert Morris University in Pittsburgh said last week it will charge Pennsylvania residents the same price as local public universities, plus a $3,000 scholarship to boot.

"The discounts aren’t limited to private schools. Public universities in Michigan, South Dakota and Nebraska now let students from other states pay as if they were locals. The University of Maine in Orono matches neighbors’ in-state rates. Public schools regularly charge two or three times as much—or more—for non-residents.

"Some colleges, facing dwindling populations of local high school graduates, are motivated to attract students from across the country. Others are battling the perception they aren’t affordable or just looking to boost their academic profiles. Schools are getting the word out via billboards and social-media campaigns."

Forbes: "Two New Price-Matching Programs Rolled Out At Private Colleges" — "Price matching isn't just for coupon clippers anymore, now college students can get in on the action too.

"Two private schools, Robert Morris University and Oglethorpe University, recently rolled out price-matching programs to compete with state flagship universities and attract students at lower tuition rates.

"At Robert Morris, the Public Price Match Plus program is open only to Pennsylvania residents who were accepted at Penn State or the University of Pittsburgh. Students can expect to pay the average cost of attendance at either school (more than $34,000 including fees, room, and board) and will receive an additional $3,000 scholarship before any financial aid is applied from the state, the federal government, or the institution itself."

Inside Higher Ed: "A Private University Matches Public Prices" — "Oglethorpe University staked out new ground Wednesday in the struggle to stand out from the crowd of small private colleges, unveiling a pricing strategy that will match public college tuition rates in every state for members of next year’s freshman class who meet certain benchmarks.

"The 1,280-student university in Atlanta calls the strategy the Flagship 50 program. It’s a non-need-based scholarship pegging the tuition some students will pay to sticker prices at flagship public universities in each of the 50 states and Washington, D.C.

"Freshmen who qualify will pay the in-state tuition rates of flagship universities in their home state. To do so, a student will need to have posted a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.5, plus a minimum test score of 1250 combined SAT or 26 composite ACT.

"In some ways, the new program resembles the University of Maine’s Flagship Match program, which brought in new students from out of state by dangling the prospect that they could pay the same tuition and fees to attend the University of Maine in Orono that they would pay if they were attending a flagship campus in their home state. But Oglethorpe looks very different from Orono because it is a private institution in the South, not a public one in the Northeast. It’s also far smaller, with first-year classes measured in the hundreds, not the thousands."

This program aired on September 5, 2018.



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