Tuition is rapidly increasing at many colleges and universities across the country, but Birmingham-Southern College will now be moving the other direction.
University officials say they will reduce tuition and mandatory fees by more than 50 percent starting in fall 2018.
"The marketplace spoke, and we listened," BSC President Linda Flaherty-Goldsmith says. "We want to make sure that the best and brightest students have access to the kind of personalized, challenging, hands-on educational experience that BSC provides."
BSC is resetting tuition back to rates from more than 15 years ago. Tuition for the 2017-18 academic year was $35,840. Beginning next year, tuition will be $17,650. According to Al.com, BSC will have the most affordable published price among all of the South's prestigious private colleges and universities. The drop in the published tuition price is also expected to allow the college to grow enrollment numbers. BSC currently has 1,300 students.
College officials say BSC is able to reduce tuition without sacrificing education because more than 90 percent of students aren't currently paying full price anyway. BSC is generous with merit aid, and many students receive need-based financial aid and private scholarships.
College officials say with a lower published tuition price, not as much financial aid will be required directly from BSC in order for students to achieve their same net cost as before the tuition reset.
The new price will also apply to current students continuing next fall. The amount of financial aid coming directly from BSC will be reduced by roughly the same dollar amount as the tuition reduction, resulting in a net cost similar to what students are currently paying, and less than they would have paid with a standard annual increase of about 3.9 percent. Officials say some returning students could see a tuition price reduction of about $1,400.