While tuition is rocketing higher and higher at many colleges, Lourdes College in Sylvania is slashing the cost for full-time students.
The small Catholic college will announce today that the annual cost for a student taking 12 credit hours will drop next academic year from $14,400 to $8,544 - a 41 percent decrease in its sticker price.
Officials said the decision comes after research showed that the college was becoming unaffordable for too many students who showed interest in it.
“The public has viewed the price of Lourdes College as a barrier,” said Robert Helmer, who will be inaugurated Sunday as the college s seventh president.
The announcement reverses a trend of increases at Lourdes, where the tuition hikes of the last few years have been 5 percent, 12 percent, and 80 percent for students taking 12 credit hours. The goals associated with those increases - creating a residential campus and the services required for it - are no longer being pursued.
As part of the new tuition changes to encourage access, Lourdes will do away with its flat fee of $14,400 for students taking between 12 and 16 credit hours. There will be only a per credit hour rate for tuition, which will increase from $330 to $356, or about 8 percent.
So while the cost for part-time students will go up, those taking a full load of courses will see a substantial reduction in cost. The 1,300 students at Lourdes are split evenly between full and part time, Dr. Helmer said.
The expectation, he said, is that more students will take more classes under the revised tuition system. This would allow the college to make up the funds lost by lowering its price.
Only 14 other private colleges, including Heidelberg College in Tiffin, have reduced tuition since 1996, according to the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities in Washington.
Tony Pals, director of public information for the association, said such moves are “definitely in response to the consumer concerns about the growing cost of college.”
While most schools begin tuition discussions by wondering how much it will go up for the coming year, Dr. Helmer said that wouldn t work anymore for Lourdes, which wanted to make it more accessible to the community.
“We just found a new starting point,” he said.
Mike Geronimo, a 43-year-old full-time nursing student from Sylvania who also works full-time at Toledo Hospital, said the tuition savings will be a big help.
“It s a great relief when you re on a limited budget,” he said.
Michelle Mulkey, 33, of West Toledo, said: “I m ecstatic.”
She has been saving every penny and was worried about having enough money to pay for books. A criminal justice major as well as a receptionist and mother of three, she is taking 18 credit hours this semester.
Even part-time student Holly Dombkowski, 26, of Point Place, was pleased by the news, saying the increase for students like her isn t exorbitant.
“I think it s great,” she said. “It s not increasing as much as it does at many other schools.”
The University of Toledo s tuition this fall was $6,426 for a full time, in-state undergraduate student. The cost for a new student entering Bowling Green State University was $7,408. Both increases amounted to 9.9 percent.
Dr. Helmer said Lourdes focus on the community means it competes more with local schools like UT and BGSU rather than private colleges in other cities.
Still, Lourdes compares favorably with most other private colleges in the state. This year, the average tuition at Ohio s private colleges is $17,256, said Larry Christman, president of the Association of Independent Colleges and Universities of Ohio.