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Colleges Cutting Tuition April 1, 2007

Posted by Brian Mulligan in Education, Social Network Analysis.

Tuition for college students and their families maybe getting a little more affordable. It actually applies to directly to Bucknell since it was ranked in the top ten most expensive colleges in the US by The Chronicle of Higher Education and The College Board.

The article was titled “Top colleges get more affordable”

The schools are looking for the best students, but some of the best students are being lured away by larger school with sweet financial packages. Schools are trying to find ways to make a top college education possible for students from lower to middle class incomes.

“The size of the package is irrelevant. What matters is how much do you have to pay and how much do you have to borrow.”

They now have specialists that deal with creating feasible packages to students that can’t afford to attend schools like Bucknell. They create the right mix of family contributions, financial aid and students loans. They make it possible for the students to attend the upper tier university.

For example, Davidson College in North Carolina is changing around its financial aid package. Instead of student loans, the university will provide work study progams and grants. This will allow the students to leave college with less debt.

I think that this a great decision, but will be challenge for Bucknell because of the size of our endowment. Also, Bucknell needs to remain compeitive with the other Patriot League school and other top liberal arts colleges. This may be a direct result of competition for students as a resource. They’re trying to control the resource by providing more benefit.

Do you think that this is a good idea for Bucknell? How will it affect how the university uses it’s money and the students that it attracts?



1. Jordi - April 3, 2007

The risky aspect of this process is merit aid: using financial aid resources to attract students instead of basing it purely on need. The downside is that colleges entering a bidding war for top students (on paper- no mention in this debate on students who blossom in college) that uses up dollars that would go towards making college more accessible for qualified but not top students.

The upside is that you attract better students and the overall improvement in quality leads to more revenue to support need-based aid.

This is often called revenue management. BU has started doing it. Will it actually be a better use of limited resources? Would be nice to see some good research on this.

2. Lady - April 16, 2007

In my opinion, I think this is a good idea for Bucknell. In regards to Professor Comas’ comment of the challenge of “using financial aid resources to attract students instead of basing it purely on need”, I think that this can be a win-win situation because there are many students who have the potential to add to the quality of Bucknell but financial concerns determine whether they choose Bucknell or not. I think this would be a better use of Bucknell’s resources as opposed to some of the unnessecary things (which I won’t mention) that Bucknell spends money on. We have such a huge endowment fund and we continue to increase it more and more with the Student Calling Program. In addition, the increasing cost of tuition which students who actually can afford to pay for it on their own helps to increase Bucknell’s revenue.

Therefore, I think the redistribution of financial aid to attract more highly qualified students is a good move for Bucknell. I know from my experience of hosting prospective students that Bucknell has failed to get some students because the student chose another Patriot League school that offered a better financial package.

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