Colleges Freeze Tuition for Second Consecutive Year

Katy Hopkins

Students at several schools can breathe a sigh of relief: For a second consecutive year, their tuition won't be rising.

Following an announcement from Ohio's Urbana University to freeze tuition again for the 2013-2014 year, at least three other private schools have announced similar consecutive-year freezes.

One of the most recent announcements comes from Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley, Mass. The all-girls, private college will keep tuition and fees at $41,456, the rate it charged for both the current and previous school years.

"We recognize that the U.S. model for higher education is not sustainable, so we can't continue to raise tuition, and have burgeoning loan burdens and have job prospects be uncertain for students," says Lynn Pasquerella, president of the college.

[See how some colleges are helping students handle debt.]

So far, the college isn't looking to make cuts, Pasquerella notes, but instead is seeking "efficiencies." In part, the college may look to resources at the other member institutions in the Five College Consortium, she says: Amherst College, Hampshire College, Smith College, and the University of Massachusetts--Amherst, where Mount Holyoke students can enroll in courses and use facilities.

Another predominantly female college with a second-year tuition freeze is St. Mary-of-the-Woods College, a small, private school in Indiana. The school has frozen tuition two years running, partially in an attempt to motivate students to return after freshman year, says Dottie King, college president.

"We noticed that students were leaving and were citing money as why they were most often leaving," King says. "We really think we have retained students at a higher rate because we were able to keep their costs [steady]."

[See which colleges have the highest freshman retention rates.]

St. Mary-of-the-Woods students will also have a tuition promise from the school, guaranteeing that the rate they pay freshman year will remain steady throughout their college career, according to the school's website.

"While your family's financial circumstances may change in a four-year period, your tuition will not," the website notes.

While it's not a four-year guarantee, in 2013-2014, full-time students at Wilson College in Chambersburg, Pa., will have paid the same tuition rate three years running. The school recently announced plans to hold tuition at $28,745 next year, the same amount it charged in 2011-2012 and 2012-2013.

In addition to transparent tuition, Wilson College is designated by U.S. News as a Best Value School in its category, Regional Colleges (North)--denoting an institution that offers significant discounts to a large number of its students. In 2011-2012, 86.8 percent of Wilson College students received need-based grants, resulting in an average discount of 47 percent off the school's total cost, according to U.S. News data.

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