Private colleges give record discounts

BOULDER, CO – APRIL 24: Students walk along 17th street after class on the University of Colorado campus as a wet rain/snow mix falls in the area on April 24, 2018 in Boulder, Colorado. The wet weather made for a wintery day but temperatures are expected to warm with high 70’s into the 80’s are expected by the weekend. (Photo by Helen H. Richardson/The Denver Post via Getty Images)

Private universities gave record tuition discounts this year — but enrollment is still falling. The average discounted tuition rate reached an estimated 49.9% this academic year, up from 39.1% a decade ago, according to the National Association of College and University Business Officers. But The Wall Street Journal notes that such “aggressive” discounting hasn’t bolstered enrollment, which has dropped nationwide at private schools for the past three years. The decline means universities earn less tuition revenue, explains Inside Higher Ed, which could force them to cut costs elsewhere.
Especially for business schools, many colleges and universities whether private or public, have accreditation that are prestigious to the university. For business schools it is the AACSB accreditation. These types of prestigious accreditation command higher tuition, combine that with the fact that colleges and universities and become even more selective of who they want to admit as a student. Supply and demand come into play here. Another factor that contributes to higher tuition rates are the increasing number of Ph.D’s as faculty. For business schools, the AACSB accreditation requires that the business school have at least 90% of its faculty holding doctoral degrees. A third factor is the increasing number of these Ph.D’s that spend time researching and writing papers to be presented at conferences. 
Having gone to college in the 90’s when I was paying $395 per credit hour in tuition for my MBA degree and racking up over $100,000 in student loan debt, I have always wondered what really drives tuition costs. That very tuition cost for that MBA degree is now $1,000 per credit hour right now at my alma mater.  Now, I have an $1,800 per month student loan payment coming out of my paycheck. Given this, it is not hard to understand why everyone cannot afford a college education. Many are opting for the less pricey schools including community colleges like Valencia College and in state schools where residents still get a somewhat cheaper tuition rate. When I went to school, there were few frills. You went to class, then to the library or Starbucks to do your studying. Now dorms are state of the art, with all kinds of inter-operability. Even recreation is becoming state of the art at many of these schools.
In 2015, my alma mater, Hawaii Pacific University, completed a $50 million renovation of Aloha Tower Marketplace. During the start of the fall term, students began moving into the new on-site dormitories that have been integrated with the former shopping complex’s educational and commercial spaces. It boasts university housing for 278 students called the Waterfront Lofts, 65,000 square feet of retail and dining spaces, and shared community spaces that can be leased for events and meetings.
All this takes money. I realize that being a well rounded student is important but at what cost. Aren’t we going to school to study or has the modern college campus become a country club where we do some learning while we play. Have we lost our way? Having racked up over $100,000 in student loan debt, I have begun advising college bound students to consider online education so they can work at the same time as getting an education.

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