Last semester, Wittenberg’s Board of Directors elected to freeze tuition for the 2015-2016 academic year. For the third year in a row, the university’s tuition will hold at 2012-2013 levels.
This announcement comes at a time when the majority of colleges around the country are increasing tuition with each successive academic year. Most institutes of higher learning typically increase their tuition about two to five percent each year, which would be about $600 at Wittenberg. With the price freeze, the tuition that current students pay will be based on each family’s individual ability to pay.
“So it’s somewhat of an ethical issue,” said Randy Green, executive director of financial aid. “You can do that math and try and figure out how much revenue the school would generate without regard to the student. But that’s really not the kind of place we are.”
While board will increase slightly to keep up with increasing national costs, this freeze is an alliance with Wittenberg’s dedication to provide affordable education for students for all four years. The system is designed so that families who have the ability to pay more do so, and help to finance the school’s increasing costs, while those who are unable to pay the sticker price are given additional aid. This is done with an effort to cause the least amount of change to students’ education.
“Wittenberg students…can take advantage of the fact that we’re working behind the scenes on the revenue and expense side rather than assuming every family can pay $1,000 more every year,” Green said.
At the same time, some students and Wittenberg alum wonder why the price of tuition is so high in the first place if 95 percent of students receive some kind of aid.
“I was upset that the university was congratulating themselves on their commitment to affordability when obviously the sticker price of Wittenberg education is unaffordable for the majority of Ohio families,” said Sven Isaacson, class of 2013.
The Financial Aid Office assures that there is a good reason for this. The price that students pay at Wittenberg is determined by the amount that their families are able to pay. Families who can afford more pay at or near the full price to offset the costs of those students who need a significant amount of aid.
As Green explained, lowering the tuition price would decrease the amount of aid that Wittenberg could distribute, since expected revenue would be less. Families who could pay full price would consider the tuition decrease a cost cut, but families who currently receive aid wouldn’t liking have their scholarships decreased. This could mean that some students would be unable to return to Wittenberg.
“Your ability to pay should be close to what you’re being asked to pay,” Green said. “Some families are paying more to offset the families who are paying less.”
While the tuition price of a Wittenberg education may be high, the Financial Aid Office hopes to provide all students with an affordable education and is looking into ways to make the tuition freeze constant.