higher education

Lasell University Hopes Dropping Tuition Costs Will Attract More Students

Price is a key consideration for students and parents but good academics and student life are also crucial, a higher education consultant explained

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A Massachusetts university is hoping a new outlook on the cost of education will help them attract more students.

Enrollment at Lasell University in Newton was 1,800 undergraduates in 2018. Last year, that number was 1,300.

They're trying to turn those declines around by cutting the price from $59,130 for tuition, room and board to $39,500. By cutting financial aid, most students’ bills won’t change. But Lasell President Michael Alexander said some will.

"Anybody that’s paying over $39,500 for a residential student, they’re going to pay less because that’s going to be the new price. Any commuter who’s paying more than $26,000 a year to come here is going to pay less."

He said the old price tag of nearly $60,000 kept some students from even applying.

“The idea is to attract more students to apply and figure out that they can afford this.”

And it’s working. Applications for next year are up 200% at a time when college applications are falling across the nation. 

Higher education consultant Lucie Lapovsky said price is a key consideration for students and parents but good academics and student life are also crucial.

“Which Lasell all has. They were just missing the boat on many students not looking at them because students are looking more at public institutions which have much lower prices.”

In addition, she said the tight labor market has driven wages up leading many high school seniors to get jobs after graduating.

"But what we know is most jobs that don’t have a college education, they have a flat earnings trajectory so in 10 years you won’t be making a lot more in many of those jobs than you’re making now," Lapovsky said.

No programs will be cut as this doesn’t change the school’s finances much. Alexander said he hopes this attracts more middle-class students. 

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