Every new and returning student saw a reduction in their total out-of-pocket tuition costs. In fact, when we calculated the out-of-pocket savings for all full-time students in 2013-14, we found an average savings of $2,542 compared to if we hadn't reset tuition. (Out-of-pocket costs are the price of tuition minus any grants or scholarships received.) For students who qualify for need-based financial aid, Federal Pell and Minnesota State grants stretched to cover a greater portion of their tuition expense. And the amount of loans needed to pay for out-of-pocket costs was therefore reduced, as well. Those are real savings, especially when calculated over four years.
With our tuition price rolled back to what it was a decade ago, Concordia is one of the most affordable private universities in Minnesota and the Concordia University System. The average net cost for our students is comparable to many of the region's public universities. In resetting tuition, nothing was cut or eliminated from the Concordia educational experience in or out of the classroom. So retaining the high quality of education while reducing tuition costs has made a Concordia degree even more valuable.
Enrollment at Concordia climbed to an all-time high following news of our tuition reset, indicating that the market of higher ed is, in fact, looking for transparency in pricing and moves toward affordability. Concordia's spring 2014 enrollment reached 3,652, up from 3,015 the previous year. Retention rates have also climbed.
"Given the socio-economic background of many of our students, these numbers (retention rates) are refreshing and help us measure our progress on our goal to increase retention and persistence to graduation," said Concordia President Tom Ries.