Student News

Colleges Announce Tuition Freeze and Resets for 2023

Is the cost of college really cheaper now?

Kathryn Knight Randolph

January 10, 2023

Colleges Announce Tuition Freeze and Resets for 2023
Learn more about tuition discounts and tuition resets.
We are just a few weeks into the new year, and some colleges have already announced tuition discounts, freezes, and resets. Whether it’s in response to a looming recession or decreasing enrollment numbers, are students really winning with these moves to make college tuition cheaper?

College Tuition Discounts and Resets

Before we dive into which colleges are providing these tuition deals, it’s important to uncover what is meant by tuition discounts, freezes, and resets. For students and parents that are new to the college experience, these may be unfamiliar terms.

Tuition Discount

The term “tuition discount” generally refers to any steps a college takes to make their college less expensive than what is advertised. Colleges and university will publish full college costs on their sites or mailed literature so that students and families can get a breakdown of the cost to attend. College cost prices may include: • Tuition • Room and Board • Fees • Supplies • Books • Transportation • Student Expenses Colleges will offer tuition discounts in the form of merit aids and grants. Students may receive these with their acceptance letter or along with their financial aid package. Whatever the case, the price that students actually pay is lower than the sticker price.

Tuition Freeze

A “tuition freeze” occurs when a college keeps tuition prices the same for multiple years rather than increasing costs year-over-year, which is typical. Colleges and universities will freeze tuition to communicate that they care about college affordability and can function within a budget without passing along costs to students.

Tuition Reset

When a college reduces its tuition price, it’s called a “tuition reset.” Believe it or not, there are colleges that will lower their prices in order to attract more students.

Caveats of Tuition Freezes and Rests

Tuition freezes and resets make colleges look more favorable, and that’s the driving rationale behind why they do it. For prospective students and their families, they feel like they’re getting a deal. In some instances, that may be true, but keep the following in mind as well. Just because a college freezes or lowers their sticker price doesn’t mean it won’t be the same cost to a student. While colleges may lower the sticker price, they could also be awarding less merit aid and grants, meaning that the college costs the same to students both before and after the freeze or reset. Knowing this truth shouldn’t prevent prospective students from applying to college, however. It should simply enlighten them to the idea that colleges practice freezes and resets to make their school more affordable and to get more students to apply.

Tuition Freeze and Reset Impacts for Current Students

Each college and university handles tuition freeze and resets differently. However, current students will not see much of an impact on their tuition bill. For example, Colby-Sawyer University in New Hampshire detailed the tuition reset to current students in the Fall of 2022. They essentially stated that the tuition reset will have no impact on their current student body: “Returning students will pay about the same amount under the new tuition price as they pay now. When students review their bills for the 2023-24 academic year, they will see that the combined total amount of institutional scholarship and financial aid will be lower — but Colby-Sawyer will charge a proportionately lower amount for students’ tuition.” The only benefit to current students at this institution is that their tuition year-over-year will increase at a smaller percentage, which will save them some money over time. They just won’t see a drastic cut from their tuition bill. If you attend a college that has announced a tuition freeze or reset, reach out to your financial office with questions of how the move impacts you. Don't be afraid to ask for clarification -- you likely won't be the only student to do so.

Colleges with Tuition Freezes and Resets in 2023

A few colleges and universities across the country have already enacted tuition freezes and resets for the 2023 – 24 school year, according to Forbes. They include: • University of New Hampshire (Freeze) • University of Vermont (Freeze) • Grand Canyon University (Freeze) • New England College (Freeze) • Lyon College (Freeze) • Slippery Rock University (Freeze) • Colby-Sawyer College (Reset) • Lasell University (Reset) • Indiana University of Pennsylvania (Reset) The above schools are just a small sample of those that will declare tuition freezes and resets. If you would like to be informed of a particular college’s pricing announcements, be sure you’re subscribed to emails and following their social media platforms. An announcement as big as a tuition freeze or reset will be broadcasted loudly by any school.

Making College Decisions Based on Tuition Freezes and Resets

While colleges and universities may have the best intention in tuition freezes and resets, it is important to remember that it’s also helping them market themselves. The goal, ultimately, is to get more students to apply the school. And these tactics work – for a time. There is nothing wrong with this practice of lowering the sticker price of a college, but students should know that it won’t necessarily make the college cheaper for them. That’s why they should apply to colleges regardless of their tuition freeze and reset practices. Nearly every college in the country practices tuition discounts, meaning the price that you see isn’t – almost always – the price that you will pay. So, apply for the private, expensive college that you don’t think your family can afford. Once you receive your merit and financial aid packages, you may be pleasantly surprised to learn that the college is just as affordable as a state school. Apply for the colleges that increased their prices, too. Their aid package may offset any sticker price increases. Finally, apply for those colleges that did reduce tuition. It could, in fact, be a better deal than in previous years. A great rule of thumb to follow when applying to colleges is to pick a few reach, target, and safety schools. • Reach Schools – These schools may be a stretch for you academically or financially. Perhaps your test scores and GPA are lower than their average admits, but it’s your dream college. It may also have a very high sticker price. Apply anyways. Schools with higher sticker prices typically offer generous scholarships to make it more affordable. • Target Schools – A target schools is one that you know you’ll get into. You have the test scores and GPA to be admitted, and after scholarships and financial aid are applied, it’s a college that you can afford. • Safety Schools – Finally, safety schools are those that you know – without a doubt – that you’ll be admitted to and can easily afford. They may be a community college or local university to which you’ve already received credit for college-level courses that you took in high school through a dual-enrollment program. Essentially, don’t only apply to colleges offering tuition freezes or resets. Apply to a wide variety of schools – you may be surprised by the results when it comes time to compare college offers. Find a list of quick-apply scholarships and make it a goal to apply for at least two per month. Featured Scholarships are typically some of the easiest scholarships to apply for, too!

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