Colleges get competitive with pricing, shorter degree programs

Sunday, July 1, 2012 | 6:00 a.m. CDT

The value of a college degree is a topic of much debate among Gen Y today, and many colleges are taking notice. According to a recent article from CNNMoney, some private colleges are trying to entice students by freezing or cutting tuition costs or offering three-year degree programs or four-year graduation guarantees. As a graduate of a private college that raised tuition by more than $8,000 over the course of my four years there, I can certainly see the appeal. But the article raises several concerns about these competitive strategies:

  • Tuition cuts or freezes are usually followed by cuts to financial aid, therefore still restricting access.
  • Increased enrollments because of tuition cuts can raise the student-to-teacher ratio.
  • Job-focused degree programs that eliminate core curriculum requirements can impact job performance by not teaching basics like writing and critical reading. 

This post is part of the American Next, a special project exploring the hopes, fears and changing expectations of Missouri's next generation in challenging times.

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