Support the news

Private Colleges Turn To Tuition Slashing To Stay Alive In Crowded Market46:46
Download

Play
In this photo taken on Wednesday, May 13, 2015, a Sweet Briar College student walks past a building at the school in Sweet Briar, Va. The school nearly closed in 2015 amid financial difficulties. (Steve Helber/AP)
In this photo taken on Wednesday, May 13, 2015, a Sweet Briar College student walks past a building at the school in Sweet Briar, Va. The school nearly closed in 2015 amid financial difficulties. (Steve Helber/AP)

Find our buildout from this hour, featuring a partial transcription, here.


With Meghna Chakrabarti

Some private college are slashing tuition. We’ll look behind the numbers and add up the risks and rewards.

Guests

Anya Kamenetz, education correspondent for NPR. Launching the podcast "Life Kit for Parents" next month. Author of "DIY U: Edupunks, Edupreneurs, and the Coming Transformation of Higher Education" and "Generation Debt." (@anya1anya)

Panayiotis Kanelos, president of St. John's College. (@stjohnscollege)

Jeff Selingo, contributing editor at The Atlantic. Senior fellow at Arizona State University. Former editor of the Chronicle of Higher Education. (@jselingo)

From The Reading List

Washington Post: "Attention, college shoppers. These schools are slashing their prices." — "As soaring tuition scares off many families, a growing number of private colleges have embraced a marketing tactic associated more with selling airline tickets or flat-screen televisions than higher education: a price cut.

"St. John’s College slashed tuition from $52,734 in this school year to $35,000 in the next.

"The liberal arts school, with campuses in Maryland and New Mexico, joined more than 20 others nationwide that have reduced prices in the past three years.

"The movement exposes a reality of higher education long hidden in plain sight: The difference between sticker prices and what the average student actually pays is often vast."

Inside Higher Ed: "Hampshire Struggles to Stay Afloat" -- "Hampshire College, founded as a 1970s-era experiment in self-directed education, is looking for a partner to help keep it afloat. As part of its process, it is mulling whether to enroll a freshman class this fall.

"In a letter posted online Tuesday, college president Miriam E. Nelson said she plans to find a 'long-term partner that can help us achieve a thriving and sustainable future for Hampshire.'

"The college, which celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2020, is supported by a modest $52 million endowment that 'has performed well,' Nelson said. But the college has been an 'under-endowed institution, really from our very first days.' And while Hampshire can still boast a balanced budget, she said the college, like others of its size, faces 'bruising financial and demographic realities' that challenge its continued existence.

"Seeking a strategic partnership 'is the right and responsible thing to do,' Nelson said. 'And now is the time to do it.'

"She said the college hopes to have a partner in place by the end of the semester.

"In an accompanying FAQ, Nelson said flatly, 'Hampshire will not close.' "

NPR: "Facing Enrollment Declines, Colleges Seek Out New, Creative Ways To Make Money" — "Enrollment of both undergrads and graduate students has been declining for years. Meanwhile colleges are getting more creative in finding new ways to make money.

"This spring, there were 1.7 million fewer college students, both undergraduate and graduate, than back in 2011 - a decline of 9 percent. That's according to the National Student Clearinghouse. And because private colleges and universities are losing students, they're having to innovate to find new ways to make money."

Stefano Kotsonis produced this show for broadcast.

This program aired on January 23, 2019.

Related:

+Join the discussion
TwitterfacebookEmail

Support the news