Though tuition will increase 3.88 percent next year, it is the smallest percentage increase in more than 15 years.
The 2014-2015 year’s tuition will increase by $1,100, from $28,350 to $29,450. Meal prices will not be increased.
This continues a trend from last year’s increase of 5.9 percent which also was the smallest increase in fifteen years.
Compared to Baylor and TCU’s nearly 6 percent increase and almost 5 percent increase at Harding and Lipscomb, Dr. Allison Garrett, vice president of the university, said she is pleased with the university’s efforts to make ACU a viable option for students.
“We work to keep ACU affordable without compromising on the quality of education,” Garrett said.
Kevin Campbell, chief enrollment officer, said the university tries to set the price of tuition earlier in the year. They began last May.
“The no. 1 factor for pricing is how students are responding to the current price,” Campbell said. “We base it upon what we’re hearing from our students and try to control costs for our current students, and find where we feel like is a right and appropriate balance.”
The university’s pricing model for the next several years will likely continue this way – with more increases around 3 – 5 percent with the annual block tuition model, Campbell said.
“Even though no one wants a price increase, this plan actually helps us accomplish our goals as an institution which is to to save students cost on their degree and to reduce the amount of time to graduate which will help bring down student debt levels,” Campbell said.
Campbell said annual block tuition has been the biggest game changer for the university. Two years ago, ACU switched from an hours-based tuition cost to a block tuition model, which gives students the opportunity to take from 24 to 36 hours in one school year for the same price.
“Our early indications of block tuition are fantastic,” Campbell said. “We’re seeing retention is up. We’re seeing student debt levels down, and we’re seeing that students are more on pace to graduate on time or early.”
Some universities use a fixed income model that sets a price for all four years of a student’s degree. Garrett said although schools with a fixed income do not increase tuition for current students, incoming students have to pick up that slack with a significantly higher tuition.
Campbell said one hour at ACU is equal to almost $1,100, the amount of the increase. If a student enrolls in 31 hours in an academic year, he or she would break even with the price increase.
“Block tuition with a modest price increase, if students take advantage of it, actually reduces the cost of a degree much greater than a zero percent increase would,” Campbell said.