It is wiser to find out than to suppose.
– Mark Twain
We’re proud to share the news that Concordia University, St. Paul is reducing the tuition price of its traditional undergraduate program by $10,000 starting Fall 2013. The Lawlor Group has actively collaborated with Concordia’s leadership team for the past six months, focusing on how to most effectively communicate this important strategic initiative to a marketplace seeking relevant and meaningful solutions related to college affordability and investment value. We believe this bold response is a genuine reflection of the type of higher education entrepreneurism—edupreneurism—that is necessary for the sustainable future.
Concordia’s tuition reset—which applies for all new, transfer, and returning students—moves it from the very common practice among private college and universities of offering a high-tuition/high-discount model to the more transparent low-tuition/low-discount model. The tuition reset not only makes Concordia one of the least expensive private colleges in the Midwest, but one of the best investment values. There are no changes to the educational experience for students, in or out of the classroom, and the University is making this change from a position of strength.
After publishing several annual Trends analyses, Lawlor Focus articles, and blog posts on the topics of college affordability, investment value, and higher education’s unsustainable business model, it’s gratifying to work with a college that has decided to lead the way toward a solution with some “edupreneurial” thinking. As I noted in a Chronicle podcast highlighted by The New York Times last year, the higher education marketplace was beginning to shift in its willingness to pay some of the published tuition prices at private colleges and universities, and national media headlines like “Is College a Lousy Investment?” have continued right up through this week.
We believe a college education is a good investment value. But we also recognize that for many students and families, the willingness to pay or ability to pay a certain amount has hit a ceiling. Yes, there are those colleges and universities that have the resources and the reputation to sustain their futures. But for most colleges, there has been a naïve sense of reality. Many higher education leaders still believe you can simply promote your way to success. Those days are gone.
Now is the time for actions that are responsive, relevant, and real. Today, Concordia University in St. Paul, Minnesota, is responding in a meaningful manner. We wish them well.