University Decision to Cut Tuition 10 Percent Every Year Sparks Debate Over College Costs

Fascinating discussion in the New York Times Opinion Page. Could cutting tuition be the key to reforming higher education? Seems unlikely, yet Sewanee (University of the South) is doing it!  And so far… it’s working.


Cutting Tuition: A First Step?

Sewanee is leading the way... back to the future?

Despite the outcry over high college costs, tuition rates are still going up. Princeton, Brown, Stanford and George Washington, for example, all announced increases in the last few weeks.

But a Tennessee college, the University of the South, better known as Sewanee, is reducing the cost to attend the school next year by 10 percent.

Tuition, fees, and room and board are all affected, with the overall cost falling from around $46,000 to about $41,500. The university said it will alter its student aid formula, but officials say no students will pay more next year than they pay now, and most will pay less.

Is this an example that other colleges might follow, or it is simply a good strategy for a school in Sewanee’s particular niche: “selective” but needing to stay competitive in a heated market? When is a tuition cut really a cut? What will it take for colleges to control their costs?

Read the Debaters’ Positions