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Taylor increases tuition

By Clay Winowiecki - cwinowiecki@chronicle-tribune.com

Another increase in tuition pricing is on the horizon for Taylor University students.

According to Stephen Olson, vice president for business and finance and CEO, the school has had to increase tuition prices every year that he can remember, which he says is a typical for private colleges. Students and parents can expect a price increase of around $1,500 per year, which is around a 3.5 percent increase.

“We look at a number of factors every year,” Olson said. “We look at market conditions to see what our competitors and sister colleges are doing, and (we look at) student enrollment patterns.”

Once the factors are analyzed, the university board makes a decision on whether or not to increase prices.

“This is the biggest decision that (the board) wrestles with,” he said. “We all want to increase tuition as little as possible but also recognize that certain things are out of our control ... it’s hard to find the right balance.”

Last year Taylor University charged students an average of about $43,700 for tuition, including room and board. This year, the new price will be roughly $45,200.

According to recent College Board reports, tuition and fees increased by an average of fewer than two percent between 2016-17 and 2017-18.

Private four-year nonprofit institutions, such as Taylor, raised costs by an average of 1.9 percent in 2017-18.

Public four-year institutions’ costs increased by 1.3 percent, while public two-year colleges’ costs rose by 1.1 percent.

According to CNBC, which also referenced the College Board’s reports, tuition prices have skyrocketed over the past three decades.

At four-year private institutions, students paid $15,160 in 1987-88, with prices adjusted for inflation. For the 2017-18 school year, the cost was $34,740, a 129 percent increase.

Students at public four-year institutions paid an average of $3,190 in costs for the 1987-88 school year, with prices adjusted for inflation. For the 2017-18 school year, costs have risen to $9,970, a 213 percent increase.

According to Olson, nearly every student at Taylor qualifies for some level of scholarship, which helps offset the costs of college tuition.

In terms of student enrollment, it’s hard to judge how rising tuition prices impact the number of students who choose to attend, Olson said.

“Like any industry, the customer doesn’t want to pay as much as the business wants to charge them,” he said.

Olson said Taylor is trying to find the proper middle ground where most students find it affordable to attend and still see good value in doing so, while allowing Taylor to maintain a price point that allows the university to do the many things they aspire to do  to provide a quality education for students.