At the start of the 2017/2018 academic year, Vanguard students were notified that the cost of tuition would be going up. Now, a few short months later, there is chatter that Vanguard will be implementing even more rate hikes.
Curious about the circumstances behind the rise in tuition, I looked to the Financial Aid Department to answer my questions. Unfortunately, that did not go as planned.
Questions about Vanguard’s plans to raise tuition, and how this may affect student retention rates, were met with sealed lips. According to the Office of Admissions, they could not give out any information until it was released to the public, but did reveal that tuition is expected to gradually increase for the next 3 to 4 years.
With the unpredictability of rapidly rising costs, how can students and their parents budget for such an expensive education?
The answer? They can’t.
Therefore, Vanguard should establish a fixed-rate tuition for up to five years to provide students with a set cost of attendance.
According to the CollegeCalc website, during the 2015/2016 academic year, VU’s tuition was placed at $30,980. At the 2016/2017 year, tuition raised to $31,430, not including room, board or other expenses.
Vanguard’s high tuition, soon to be higher, gives potential students the idea that a private Christian university is reserved only for the elite.
George Washington University successfully implemented a fixed-rate tuition beginning in 2005. As long as students remain in good academic standing, their tuition remains locked for up to five years. According to the GWU’s website, 71 percent of all undergrad students who enrolled stated that fixed-tuition was a factor, and nearly a quarter said it had a large influence on their decision to enroll.
I myself struggle with the cost of tuition, along with many other students. I can’t even buy coffee from Samson’s without checking my budget.
Tuition is getting higher, while the amount of money I make and the amount of money my parents make remains the same.
Fortunately, I live at home and receive financial support from my parents, but other students are not as lucky. For this reason, some students do not return to Vanguard because of financial constraints.
A fixed-rate tuition would not lower Vanguard’s tuition, rather give students the opportunity to plan how they will pay for their education, without the threat of rising costs.
At face value, Vanguard’s retention rate at 78.1 percent is fairly good, in fact it is higher than the national average. From the 2015/2016 to the 2016/2017 year, the retention rate actually rose by .2 percent. On the contrary, the retention rate significantly dropped for African-Americans and Asians.
The drop in retention rates followed the increase in tuition. Unfortunately, minority students make up the majority of students not returning. It could be that minority students do not return because they are unable to keep up with the rising tuition.
VU’s tuition on average rises 2.44 percent annually. At this rate, Vanguard will soon be an institution open only for those with deep enough pockets.
There is no simple solution for this problem. Students at Vanguard understand that attending a private university means forking over more money, but what they don’t expect is getting hit with higher tuition each year.
Vanguard should consider a fixed tuition, because it would benefit both the university and its students.