Updated: 5 ways higher ed is helping students afford their tuition

Jul 10, 2020

Due to complications as a result of the coronavirus, more students need help with tuition payments, so higher ed leaders are stepping up by providing tuition scholarships, free tuition for online courses and creating other tuition program initiatives.

An overwhelmingly number of students believe they cannot finance their undergraduate degree, study shows

By: Steven Blackburn | June 29, 2020

Fairleigh Dickinson University officials recently decided to stick to their original plan of freezing the undergraduate tuition rate for 2020-21 and not increasing tuition next year despite the financial ramifications as a result of COVID-19.

The private New Jersey university also simplified the graduation tuition rate structure, provided $6.5 million in pro-rated refunds and credits for students who were forced to leave their dormitories during the spring semester and provided discounts for students taking multiple summer courses.

“Deciding to do a tuition freeze and offering these other provisions was not easy especially with declines in enrollment and revenue at Fairleigh, but we felt it would be disingenuous if we increased tuition when we consistently say that our goal is to make education more affordable, especially with so many people out of work and struggling financially,” says President Christopher A. Capuano. “COVID has made our decisions more acute and perhaps accelerated those decisions.”

Simplifying tuition structures

In addition to enacting a tuition freeze, the university has reduced the number of graduate tuition rates that students can choose from, which, in turn, simplified the application process for students and reduced the costs overall.

“There were some programs that introduced various scholarships that students had to apply for and it became difficult for students to get a sense of what their final costs would be with our older system, so we created categories to make it simpler,” says Capuano. “We also eliminated many of the nuances on how to obtain a scholarship that weren’t clear to students.”

He adds, “We started working on this a couple of years ago and we intended to announce it this summer for the fall anyway regardless of whether we were in a pandemic or not, but it may resonate more with students because of COVID-19. We made a commitment and we stuck to it because that was the right thing to do.”