Ever heard of sticker shock? It is a term used to explain the shock of seeing a product priced too high. I was in a store yesterday with my wife. She pointed out a vest she liked and hinted she may want it as a gift. I walked over and checked the price tag and thought, “What! That is way too expensive for a vest. I’ll wait to buy it once it goes on sale.” The same goes for all of us when we buy a car. There is a sticker price, and then there is the price we hope to negotiate the car salesperson down to.
Here is my advice: Think of college tuition the same way. According to a survey of the National Association of College and University Business Officers the average private college or university discounts their tuition by 45%. That is a sale!
When looking at schools in the Coalition of Christian Colleges and Universities, their most recent data shows an average tuition of $22,684 amongst their member schools. That’s a pretty daunting price tag. Christian private institutions, on average, cost less than non-Christian private institutions and therefore likely have a lower tuition discount, so let’s guess their tuition discount is around 40%. That means that the average student at a CCCU school is not paying $22,684 but rather $13,611. That is a much more manageable price tag. With a sale like that I am ready to walk to the register right now.
There are lots of great Christian colleges and universities out there with varying tuitions and tuition discounts. The point is that the sticker price is unlikely the price you will actually pay. If you are truly interested in a school go through the admissions process and see what scholarships, grants, and other awards you can get. I am sure you will be encouraged as you see your overall tuition price get smaller.
Aaron Wilkinson is the Director of Admissions for Wesley Seminary at Indiana Wesleyan University. He got his M.A. in Intercultural Studies from Asbury Theological Seminary and his B.A. in Religious Studies from Gardner-Webb University. Prior to working for Wesley Seminary he worked for three years as the Coordinator of Admissions and Marketing for Asbury University’s Master of Social Work program.