Ohio’s Ashland University, 70 miles south of Cleveland, announced this week their decision to slash annual tuition by 37% — more than $10,000 for the 2014-2015 academic year.
In a press conference attended by Ohio Congressmen Steve Tiberi (R-OH) and Bob Gibbs (R-OH), Ohio House Speaker William Batchelder, and John Carey, Chancellor for the Ohio Board of Regents, Ashland President Dr. Fred Finks said, “There are a lot of factors that went into making this decision. Number one, we wanted to make sure we were being transparent in our pricing and our scholarship.”
Calling the cut a “tuition reset,” Finks said that many students and parents were deterred by “sticker shock”at the private university and didn’t examine the real price, after financial aid was applied, so greater transparency was needed.
“Over the past decade everyone in higher education has danced around the subject of the rising cost of college. Yet few have been willing to tackle the issue and the complications involved,” said Finks. “Ashland University knows the importance of positioning ourselves to meet the rising demand for quality education at an affordable price. We have decided now is the time to act.”
Scott Van Loo, Vice President of Student Enrollment Management and Marketing at Ashland, said the tuition reset — to $18,908 per year — means prospective students can now get a top-notch private education at an affordable cost. The total cost for tuition, fees, room and board will be $29,354 for the 2014-15 academic year.
Congressman Pat Tiberi said to “mark the date. ” He said, “This is the beginning of something special that I think is going to happen, not just across this state, but across our nation.” He noted the problem of the higher education bubble, which contributes to rising tuition costs. ”There’s a history here of many congresses and many presidents raising Pell grants. And then something else happens — college tuition usually goes up after it. And I tell them, ‘Why don’t you try to figure out the problem from the root?’” Tiberi said that Ashland was doing that now, sending a message to students “who might not think that they can go to a private institution like Ashland.”
Congressman Bob Gibbs said the massive student loan debt in the country is not sustainable. “So I really commend Ashland University on taking this step and moving forward and the opportunities that present themselves to the students that attend Ashland,” Gibbs said.
“Those dramatic increases [in tuition prices and student loan debt] have disadvantaged a lot of young people — a lot of bright young people,” added Ohio House Speaker William Batchelder. “And I am so proud that Ashland County is leading the nation in terms of helping our young people.”