- Oglethorpe University, in Atlanta, will offer enrolling students from any state the same tuition as they would pay at flagship public institutions in their home state, Inside Higher Ed reported. The university's goal is to help it stand out among small private colleges to attract high-performing students.
- The Flagship 50 program offered by the private university, which enrolls about 1,300 students, will provide the tuition option to any student who applies with a 3.5 GPA or higher and a minimum 1250 combined SAT score or a 26 composite ACT score.
- While Oglethorpe lists its tuition as $37,920, state flagship tuition rates range from a high of about $18,500 in New Hampshire to a low of about $5,550 in Wyoming. Oglethorpe’s discount tuition rate has been about 60% in recent years, so students pay about $13,700 per academic year.
During the past few years, private colleges and universities nationwide have unveiled plans to reduce tuition in a variety of ways. They hope to recruit more freshmen and transfer students at a time of declining enrollments and increased competition from other institutions and alternative education providers.
During the 2016-17 academic year, a record number of private colleges cut their tuition rates. According to a recent study from the National Association of College and University Business Officers, freshman tuition discounts reached a record 48.2%, and researchers expect similar reductions this year.
While experts say discounting tuition benefits individual students, they contend it puts institutions at a disadvantage in trying to keep students from year to year with near static rates, particularly those who face affordability challenges. Likewise, tuition discounts are not like financial aid scholarships; they're unfunded and impact an institution's revenue redistribution.
Frank Wu, a distinguished professor at University of California Hastings College of the Law, has said that institutions that are discounting too much are "imperiling their continued existence," and has suggested that administrators instead consider an overall tuition reset because the cost of higher education is too high.