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  • Writer's pictureJoanne Jacobs

Colleges drop prices to compete for students

Some non-elite colleges are freezing or dropping prices, reports Hechinger’s Matt Krupnick. They’re competing for a smaller cohort of 18-year-olds and facing more skepticism about the value of a college degree.

Mills, a small private college in Oakland, “dropped its sticker price from $45,000 to $29,000 a year,” a 36 percent cut, he reports. Most students never paid $45,000; they were offered sharp discounts. But the big number was scaring potential students away.

. . . almost seven in 10 parents said in a survey that they had eliminated colleges from consideration for their children because of the cost. In another survey, only 44 percent of Americans said private, nonprofit universities and colleges are worth what they charge.

It’s not just private colleges that worry about pricing out students, he writes. “The University of Illinois system is in the fourth year of a tuition freeze.”

For decades, college tuition increased far faster than the inflation rate. Those days may be over.

Image result for college tuition consumer price index

Colleges also are trying to meet students’ desire for employable skills, writes Jeffrey Selingo in the Washington Post.

A recent Harris Poll found that two-thirds of 14- to 23-year-old students want a degree to provide financial security, ranking it above all else when it comes to their motivation for going to college. At the same time, fewer students are majoring in the humanities, according to newly released government data. . . . While unemployment among recent college graduates is at historic lows, underemployment is not. Some 40 percent of college graduates are underemployed, meaning they are in jobs that don’t require a bachelor’s degree.

Emory University has created degrees that combines applied mathematics and statistics with liberal arts, Selingo writes. “The University of Utah” now lets seniors “earn certificates before graduation in fields such as data analysis and instructional design.”

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