Let's Talk Tuition: Private Colleges & Universities with Guaranteed Tuition Policies

The rising cost of college is no secret. To drive home the reality of this issue, here's a horrifyingly helpful chart:

Click the chart above to see the full report, which is saturated with fascinating financial information for college planning.

There is quite a lot of talk about saving for college and student loan management, both of which are crucial topics deserving in-depth consideration. For now, I'll sum up where you should land on these issues:

  1. SAVE. NOW.
  2. Be prudent in borrowing!

Got those two? Easy!

Now that you've mastered these tactics, I want to shift focus to another consideration for college financial planning: tuition practices.

The typical tuition practice at most institutions is to increase tuition annually. The average annual increase over the past ten years for private four-year schools was 2.4% and for public four-year schools was 3.2%. This m.o. means that a student earning a four-year degree will be subject to three tuition increases, paying quite a bit more for senior year than for freshman year.

But some colleges offer an alternative in their guaranteed tuition policies. These policies typically promise that a student's freshman year tuition will also be his senior year tuition. There are some variants here and there, but that's the gist. If tuition starts at, say, $40,000, such a tuition guarantee could save a student over $7,000. In the grand scheme of college costs, it's not a life-changing amount of savings, but every bit helps!

While many public universities have some sort of tuition promise, those policies can vary for in-state and out-of-state students and also have specific conditions attached to them. For blog purposes, I'm going to focus on private institutions, which have the same price tag no matter where you live!

PRIVATE Colleges & Universities with Tuition Guarantee Policies

A caveat: For any of these schools, I would ask the admissions or financial aid office, "What is the schedule of fees for four years here, and what is the historical increase in those fees from year to year?" Because this is where they get you: tuition is guaranteed, but fees are not. This fact can lead to some sneaky fee practices. From the list above, University of Dayton and Kettering University are the only schools that also have all-inclusive tuition without a laundry list of variable fees.

At LCC, we recognize that finding a good match college requires assessing not only academic fit and social fit but also financial fit. Considering tuition practices is one way to evaluate how well a college will match your family's needs.

Know of private colleges or universities missing from this list? Leave a comment, and we'll investigate and update as needed!