La Salle University Slashing $11,600 Off Tuition

The university will cut tuition from $40,400 to $28,800 next school year. Students, on average, will see their bills go down $1,000 to $1,500.

La Salle - stacks in the library

Photo by Matthew Chverchko, courtesy La Salle University

La Salle University is cutting tuition prices by 29 percent — reducing tuition from $40,400 to $28,800 for the 2017-18 school year. Students will pay the same rates they did in 2008 for the next school year. The college had previously frozen tuition for the 2016-17 school year.

“The cost of higher education continues to spiral year after year, with no end in sight,” La Salle President Colleen Hanycz said in a release. “We cannot continue to assume that this issue will fix itself someday, somehow — the tuition model for higher education is broken. La Salle is working to reshape that model so college becomes an affordable reality for students and their families.”

The university has dubbed its tuition reduction “An Affordable Path for All.” The only students that will receive a full tuition reduction of $11,600 are those paying the full share of the tuition. La Salle says 97 percent of its students receive some kind of financial aid. La Salle spokesperson Jaine Lucas says most students are getting $1,000 and $1,500 reductions in their tuition bill.

Tuition may go up in the coming years, but it will rise off the $28,800 base. The tuition cut does not change fees or room and board costs.

Lucas said the plan began to take shape after Hanycz was named president last year. The first lay person (and the first woman) to lead La Salle is leading the school during a tumultuous time. The school laid off workers last summer amid a $12 million shortfall due to a much smaller freshman class than anticipated.

In order to encourage more students to apply to La Salle and retain students who are already there, the decision was made to “reset” tuition. The cost of education at La Salle had just spiraled out of control, and was hurting the university’s bottom line.

“It’s been a business model that higher education has adopted pretty much across the board,” Lucas said. “You go out there and you put this big price out there, because people equate quality with price. And so you’re jacking up the price every year, but you’re also jacking up the discount in the form of scholarships. It’s resulted in a lack of transparency. We still have about 30 percent of our students that come from families where the parents did not go to college. What was happening is they would look at the tuition alone — at $40,400 — and say, ‘Forget it. It’s completely out of our league.’”

La Salle expects the price cut will allow students from a much broader socioeconomic background to consider the college. “The overwhelming majority of our students receive state, federal and La Salle-sponsored grants and scholarships,” Tom Delahunt, vice president for enrollment services, said in a release. “An Affordable Path For All will help place La Salle University in the consideration set of more students who can benefit from the exceptional education that La Salle University delivers.”

But the big question still remains: What does La Salle say to students who just graduated, who are upset they didn’t get a discount on their tuition?

“We understand,” Lucas says. “We appreciate where they’re coming from. But this is a very positive change, and change has to happen at some point. We just felt this was something we had to do. To the students that have graduated, what I would also say is: They got a really outstanding education here. We are consistently cited for value. … they received a very high-quality education here and most of them paid very little. We have always been known for our generous scholarships and financial aid.”

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