Ave Maria University Announces Tuition Reduction

Ave Maria University Announces Tuition Reduction

Ave Maria University will cut tuition by 22 percent – to $17,940 – for students entering the liberal arts school in the fall of 2014, the university announced Thursday.

The tuition decrease will be accomplished without any cuts to the university’s academic or student life programs, the school’s statement said.

The move is aimed to be “cost neutral,” said AMU President Jim Towey in an interview, because enrollment is expected to increase, partially as a result of having lower tuition costs. Ave Maria has close to 1,000 students on campus this fall, and has a goal of having 1,500 students by the fall of 2016.

Several U.S. colleges and universities have cut tuition over the last few years, adopting new financial models that reduce both tuition as well as the what is known as the “discount rate” – that is the overall amount of grants and financial aid as a percentage of total tuition revenue. Because both the tuition and the aid decrease, the actual amount students pay does not necessarily change dramatically, but the lower tuition price reduces “sticker shock,” which can spur applications and increase enrollment. That was the case at Concordia University in Minnesota, which reported a 30-percent increase in applications this year after reducing tuition by 33 percent. Belmont Abbey Belmont Abbey College near Charlotte, NC, also cut its tuition by about 33 percent beginning this year.

The new tuition structure will give Ave Maria Unviersity an advantage with schools it competes with, Mr. Towey said, to “help us attract the best students,” and raise the overall caliber of the student body.

The new tuition applies to incoming students next fall, but the amount that current students pay will be frozen in subsequent years, Mr. Towey said. “It is a relief for them after three years of tuition increases,” he said.

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