Collegebound Network

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Gimme a Break (On Tuition!)

It's not just a slogan for a popular candy bar - it's a real plea for help from students and their families overwhelmed by the ever-increasing costs of college. According to recent reports from The College Board, you can expect to pay, on average, $167 to $1,132 more than last year for current tuition and fees, depending on the type of college you attend.

But the good news is that many schools are doing what they can to help - which in some cases is a whole lot. St. Louis Christian College (Florissant, MO) didn't just reduce tuition fees - they ditched them completely. It's called a tuition freeze, and all students who live on campus pay room and board, and a $450 student services fee, but their education is completely tuition-free, saving them about $4,000 a year. Central Christian College (Moberly, MO) offers a similar program that guarantees free tuition for students who maintain a 2.0 grade point average or better.

How is this possible? According to Tom Wallace, St. Louis Christian's director of development, the costs of the tuition plan are offset by the increased enrollment - in 2001, the school had less than 100 students, and in 2005 it's got almost 450. It seems a more affordable college experience attracts more students. Though not every school can eliminate tuition, many are taking alternative steps to save students money. Some schools, like Pace University (New York, NY), are freezing tuition costs so they don't increase each year. "Students deserve predictability," says Pace's president, David A. Caputo. "Parents tell me that when compared to out-of-state tuition, the guaranteed tuition makes the decision to go to Pace a better one. In an age of uncertainty, we think it will be nice to know some things don't change."

Hiram College (Hiram,OH) recently instituted a similar tuition freeze. "We're making it simple," says the school's interim president, Thomas V. Chema. "The cost for tuition and fees will be the same at the end of four years as it was on day one." Things are looking up for your bank account - at the very least, your tuition may not increase, and best case scenario, it won't even exist.

Schools Follow Savings Suit
It's not just St. Louis Christian College and Hiram College looking out for your wallet. Here are a handful of others...
> University of Illinois (Chicago, IL): Froze tuition
>Missouri Southern State University (Joplin, MO): Cut tuition by 1.5
percent after tuituin freeze for 2004
> Westminster College (Fulton, MO): Dropped tuition by 20 percent
> Eureka College (Eureka, IL): Dropped tuition by 30 percent