Purdue president calls on colleges to reduce costs

Posted on August 25th, 2014

College costs have gotten out of control, but rarely do you hear a college administrator take responsibility for rising costs. Instead, they announce tuition increases with promises that they’ve “increased financial aid.”

But Mitch Daniels, President of Purdue University, isn’t like most college administrators.

In a recent appearance on CNBC, he blamed colleges themselves for putting costs out of reach for most families, and he says it’s time for a major change.

Colleges should cut expenses instead of raising tuition

When Daniels joined Purdue in 2013, he immediately issued a tuition freeze, forcing departments to figure out how they could cut costs to make up for the lack of increase. The freeze is also in effect this year and at least through 2015.

Daniels says the rapid rise in college tuition costs over the past two decades have been “very unfair” to students and families, and he believes colleges need to take the responsibility for reducing their own costs, rather than asking students to subsidize their overspending.

Instead of asking our students’ families to adjust their budgets to our spending, let’s try to adjust our spending to their budgets for a while.

And Daniels realizes tuition isn’t the only financial burden for students and families. Textbooks, he says, have risen three times inflation over the last decade, with the average Purdue student currently spending $1,200 or more on textbooks per year.

To help students keep these costs under control, Purdue has joined with Amazon to create a new co-branded Purdue Student Store on the retailer’s site. This will help students save up to 30 percent, or $6 million a year, on textbooks per year, says Daniels.

Students passing on first-choice colleges due to cost

Daniels says colleges are going to have to realize that they can’t continue to raise prices unchecked with no consequences.

A record percentage of this year’s applicants did not attend their first-choice colleges, he says, most often due to high costs. He believes this proves that the market is changing, and more students will continue to choose lower priced options.

We hope he’s right–and we’re happy to see a college president taking responsibility for price increases instead of putting it on the backs of families and students. We hope more college presidents will follow his lead and issue tuition freezes while finding ways to cut costs campus-wide.

In the meantime, we’ll be helping direct students and families to those lower-cost colleges that may not have been their first choice, but end up being a great fit without forcing the student to take on a mountain of debt.

If you’re interested in learning how we can help you make college more affordable, call us at 1-888-234-3907 or contact us using this form.

Category: College Costs

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