Tuition Discounting and Financial Aid Practices at Small, Private Institutions

Topics: Admissions, Enrollment Management, Financial Aid

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Applicants increasingly identify cost as a primary concern when selecting undergraduate institutions. This report examines strategic financial aid practices to support enrollment goals and highlights overall tuition discount rates at small, private universities.

  • Key observations from our research:

    1. Undergraduate tuition discount rates range from 44 percent to 62 percent at four profiled institutions.

    2. Merit and need-based award distribution practices adjusted for institutional tuition revenue, student diversity, or academic prestige goals.

    3. Grant awards directed to admitted applicants with family incomes between $30,001 and $110,000 to balance diversity and tuition revenue goals.

    4. Align tuition discount rates with competitor institutions’ to improve conversion rates.

    5. No profiled institution guarantees to meet a certain percentage of student need through grant awards.

    6. Availability of institutional resources limits grant program generosity and total awards.

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