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These colleges are slashing tuition during the pandemic

Shane Murphy
·4 min read
These colleges are slashing tuition during the pandemic
These colleges are slashing tuition during the pandemic

The price of higher education in America has been creeping up for years, leaving many aspiring students with a tough decision: take on mountains of debt or try to land a good job without a college degree.

But since the first wave of the pandemic began, schools across the country have been struggling. Undergraduate enrollment dropped by 3.6% last fall, totalling more than 560,000 students. That’s nearly twice the rate of decline colleges saw in fall 2019.

As a result, a number of schools have slashed their tuition prices, some by 50% or more.

Here are the colleges offering the biggest cuts for the 2021-22 school year — plus what you can do to save money if you paid a hefty price for your own education.

The lower price of higher education

While plenty of schools nationwide have frozen their tuition or offered a modest discount, the following colleges and universities have busted out the shears.

Some have cut so deep that they’ve gone from one of the most expensive schools in their region to one of the most affordable.

Southern New Hampshire University

Southern New Hampshire University

Price reduction: 51% / 67%

This school made headlines last year when it announced that it was offering free tuition for freshmen during the 2020-21 school year.

While that’s no longer on the table, SNHU is offering undergrads two options for 2021-22: $15,000 per year for full-time in-person instruction and $10,000 for a blend of in-person and online classes. The former is a 51% reduction, while the latter is a whopping 67% discount.

Houghton College

Houghton College
Houghton College

Price reduction: 53%

Houghton College in New York State has announced a “tuition reset” for both new and returning students at its Allegany County campus, starting in the fall 2021 semester.

Tuition at Houghton will now cost $15,900 per year before financial aid — a 53% price cut that the school says will make it the most affordable Christian college in the country.

Goldey-Beacom College

Goldey-Beacom College
Goldey-Beacom College

Price reduction: 50%

Tuition for undergrads at this college in Wilmington, Delaware, will cost $12,750 per year for a full-time course load, which the school says is the lowest cost of any four-year private college in the region.

Spring Hill College

Spring Hill College
Spring Hill College

Price reduction: 50%

This school in Mobile, Alabama is reducing the price of attendance to $21,100 per year. Prior to the price drop, Spring Hill had the highest direct costs of any private college in Alabama, but after the reset it says it will be one of the most affordable in the nation.

And as an added incentive for new students, Spring Hill has also reduced its standard room and board rates by almost $3,200.

William Jewell College

William Jewell College
William Jewell College

Price reduction: 45%

For the 2021-22 school year, the cost of attendance for a full-time undergrad at this Liberty, Missouri college will drop from $33,500 to $18,360.

Prior to the reduction, Jewell’s yearly tuition was $8,000 higher than the national average for private four-year colleges and more than $10,000 higher than the average for the state of Missouri. As of September, it will be lower than both.

Other schools cutting tuition

In addition to the colleges mentioned above, a number of other schools have announced smaller — but still substantial — drops in the cost of enrollment for the 2021-22 school year.

Here’s a quick rundown, including the revised price and the difference from last year’s tuition:

  • Gordon College: $25,250 (-33%)

  • Hendrix College: $33,000 (-32%)

  • Seattle Pacific University: $35,100 (-25%)

  • Fairleigh Dickinson University: $32,000 (-25%)

  • Rider University: $35,000 (-22%)

  • Willamette University: $43,500 (-18%)

  • University of Lynchburg: $33,500 (-18%)

How to avoid drowning in student debt

Student concerned about her debt
Damir Khabirov / Shutterstock

If you didn’t get the chance to capitalize on any cuts — maybe you graduated not too long ago — there’s a good chance you’re burdened by a sizable amount of student debt.

Student loan forgiveness was a cornerstone of Joe Biden’s campaign. Now that the new president has taken office, he’s expected to ask Congress to forgive $10,000 in federal student debt per person.

Unfortunately, it’s unlikely that forgiveness will extend to people with private student loans. For those borrowers, the best option to reduce their monthly payments would be refinancing into a lower interest rate.

In order to qualify for a refi, you’ll need to have a decent credit score. If you’re not sure where your score stands, you can check it for free online and also get free advice on how to boost it if it’s lower than you like.