I want to share a press release we received yesterday from the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities (NAICU). This organization serves as the voice of independent, nonprofit higher education institutions in the United States such as Oklahoma City University.
An annual survey of NAICU members shows tuition increases at private nonprofit universities are at the lowest rate in 40 years while opportunities for student financial aid have increased.
In the release, NAICU President David L. Warren says: “During the past five years, private colleges and universities across the nation have redoubled efforts and implemented innovative initiatives to cut their operating costs, improve their efficiency, and enhance their affordability.” At OCU, we have taken significant and strategic steps to implement similar initiatives with the goal of providing our students a personalized, high-quality, rigorous liberal arts and sciences education.
Due to budget and enrollment efficiencies, we were able lock in the 2013-2014 tuition rate for incoming freshmen for the next four years. Student fees and housing costs remained flat for 2013-14. Tuition for current students increased 1 percent and new transfer students entered at the current student rate. The per credit hour rate for domestic graduate students pursuing an MBA, MSA or MSCS decreased.
Our commitment to financial aid is as strong as ever. Oklahoma City University offers more than $25 million in academic merit and talent-based scholarships. We award financial assistance to more than 84% percent of our students.
OCU students have unparalleled access to faculty and staff, in-depth research and internship opportunities, and access to a multitude of extra-curricular programs, lectures, and events. Our class size encourages interaction with professors and increases opportunities for “real life” experiences in and outside the classroom.
The importance of these qualities is evident in results from the 2013 National Survey of Student Engagement. Here are a few highlights based on the specific surveys of OCU freshmen and seniors:
These are the assets that make our graduates better-prepared for the workforce, competitive in the job market, and sought after by employers. An OCU education is a valuable commodity for our students and our community.
Private College Tuition Increases at Lowest Rate in Four Decades
“During the past five years, private colleges and universities across the nation have redoubled efforts and implemented innovative initiatives to cut their operating costs, improve their efficiency, and enhance their affordability,” said NAICU President David L. Warren. “This, coupled with generous institutional student aid policies, has resulted in a private higher education that is accessible and affordable to students and families from all backgrounds.”
According to NAICU, data show that the average inflation-adjusted net tuition and fees (published tuition and fees minus grant aid from all sources and federal higher education tax benefits) has increased just $230, to $13,380, at private, nonprofit institutions over the past ten years. According to the College Board, in 2012-2013, published tuition and fees averaged just over $29,000 at nonprofit colleges and universities.
Results from NAICU’s survey also show this year’s average 6.9 percent increase in institutional student aid follows increases of 6.2 percent, 7.3 percent, 6.8 percent, and 9 percent in 2012-13, 2011-12, 2010-11, and 2009-10, respectively. The NAICU survey did not collect student aid figures prior to 2009-10.
“Private, nonprofit colleges and universities have been and will continue to be positive investments that pay big dividends,” said Warren. “Nearly eight-in-ten students who earned a bachelor’s degree from a four-year private institution did so in four years, graduating with manageable debt and prepared to succeed and contribute to the workforce and society.”
Tuition Cuts, Freezes, and Other Affordability Measures Spread Since the economic downturn, private colleges have introduced creative affordability measures to keep out-of-pocket costs as low as possible for students and families. In recent years, an unprecedented number of private institutions have cut tuition, frozen tuition, announced fixed-tuition guarantees (no increases for students while they are enrolled), or introduced three-year degree programs.
Other initiatives are also spreading, including military scholarships, substantial student aid increases, loan repayment assistance programs, and articulation agreements with community colleges.
More than half (510) of NAICU’s 962 member colleges and universities responded to this year’s survey of published tuition and institutional student aid increases. NAICU member institutions enroll 90 percent of the students who attend private, nonprofit colleges and universities in the United States. NAICU’s survey collects percentage increases in published tuition and institutional student aid budget increases, but not dollar amounts.