Wednesday February 22, 2017

Committed to Affordability

The University of Dayton is building on its commitment to tackle the affordability of higher education with its lowest tuition increase in 45 years, just 2 percent for first-year students starting in the 2017-18 school year.

It's the latest step in a wide-ranging series of affordability and accessibility initiatives that have transformed the cost, transparency, and added value of a University of Dayton education, including how grants and scholarships are awarded, opportunities for free books, and study-abroad experiences at no extra cost. A new partnership with Sinclair Community College now puts a UD education within reach for students who are academically eligible but who might not have previously considered the University for financial reasons.

“Accessibility and affordability are two of the most difficult and important challenges facing higher education," said President Eric F. Spina. "The entire University of Dayton organization is committed to making our high-quality education more accessible and more affordable by continuing to innovate. Slowing the rate of tuition increase is an important strategic component."

The modest increase works in tandem with the University's net-price transparent tuition plan. The plan promises students their financial aid will grow to match any tuition increases so that net tuition remains fixed. And it provides each accepted student a personalized financial aid letter detailing the cost of tuition, as well as projected costs for housing, meals, and other expenses for all four years. Because UD has eliminated all fees, there are no surprises from those often undisclosed, hidden expenses that can add thousands of dollars to the cost of an education at some institutions.  

“Our goal is to offer families peace of mind when it comes to price,” said Jason Reinoehl, vice president for strategic enrollment management. “We see it as part of our moral obligation as a Catholic institution to do what is right for our students and to help them avoid any surprise expenses that might derail them on their path to a degree.”

The University has been a national leader for price transparency since it created the plan, which is making a difference in two other important ways: borrowing and graduation rates.

The first class to begin at UD with the net-price tuition plan will graduate in May; student loan borrowing has been significantly lower than past classes. On average, students are projected to borrow at least $5,000 less than pre-plan graduates. In aggregate, the class is projected to borrow at least $6 million less than the previous graduating class. With year-to-year retention rates besting historic averages every year, the University also expects a record 4-year graduation rate for the class.  

“When we changed our approach to pricing, no other university in the country was taking the same approach, and that remains true today,” Reinoehl said. “These results prove transparent pricing makes a real difference and we are thrilled by these significant outcomes for our students.”

National media have taken notice of the University’s plan in recent months. The New York Times included the University in a story about hidden college fees and The Atlantic featured a deeper dive on the University’s decision to abolish fees. Last August, Inside Higher Ed, a respected online publication focused on higher education, reported on early results of the tuition plan.

The University also is innovating in other ways to remove burdensome costs for students and improve access to opportunities that enhance their future success. A textbook scholarship provides up to $4,000 over four years for students to purchase books. A study-abroad program allows students to study in China, Ireland, or Spain at no extra cost and provides a $3,000 scholarship to cover the cost of flights or other travel expenses.

Being open and honest about costs upfront changes the conversation with prospective students, Reinoehl said: "They can focus on the value of a University of Dayton education because they clearly understand the price.”

While the $41,750 tuition for 2017-18 is on par with other top-tier, private, Catholic universities, Reinoehl said by including books, study abroad, and many other experiential learning opportunities at no additional cost, the University of Dayton stands out as an excellent value with generous financial aid.

More than 94 percent of students receive financial assistance, including scholarship, grants, educational loans, and part-time work study; the University invests more than $145 million annually in institutional merit and need-based financial aid. The average award for last year's first-year class was $28,482.

"With our transparent tuition plan and substantial financial assistance, and now the UD Sinclair Academy, we are working hard to make a UD education affordable and within reach for students from a wide range of incomes," Reinoehl said. "Families are often surprised with how affordable we are."

More information on affordability and accessibility of a University of Dayton education is available online; applications are still being accepted for fall 2017. Applications are also being accepted for the fall cohort of the UD Sinclair Academy, find more information here.

For more information, contact Cilla Shindell, executive director of news and communications, at 937-229-3257 or shindell@udayton.edu.

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