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The published tuition price for our traditional undergraduate program dropped by $10,000 in fall 2013 for all new (freshmen and transfers) and returning students. This decrease reset Concordia's tuition to what it was a decade ago and reduced it 33 percent from 2012-13's tuition of $29,700 to $19,700. In addition, we froze room and board for 2013-14 at the 2012-13 price. 


Why We Did It

Concordia's vision is to provide outstanding value by offering an education of high academic quality that is reasonably priced so that our students can achieve personal and career success. We recognize that the growing reliance on student loans nationwide caused by constantly rising tuition prices can lead to accumulated debt that impedes many graduates' efforts to build financial security for themselves. That's why the higher education marketplace of prospective students and their families is demanding real action on college affordability.

Although Concordia itself is currently in a position of strength (with record enrollment numbers and a higher academic profile for the entering class in 2012-13), the economic recession has eroded the financial situations of the students and families we serve. That has necessitated several years of increases in the institutional scholarship and grant aid Concordia awards, along a trajectory that simply is not sustainable. So we decided to respond with a relevant and real solution.

How We Did It

Concordia has a culture of fiscal prudence and a strong history of effective strategic planning, conservative forecasting of revenue growth, and careful attention to expense management. We have a diversified revenue stream, thanks in part to our cohort adult degree-completion and graduate programs, and have disciplined ourselves over the past decade to operate with low overhead and to rely on the core operating revenues of tuition and auxiliary services. And for the past three years, we have been intentionally planning for and creating the specific conditions that would allow us to reset our tuition.

The decrease in tuition is being accompanied by a decrease in our discount (the amount of institutional financial aid Concordia awards), but our move from a high-tuition/high-discount model to a low-tuition/low-discount model will actually lower our students' net cost when compared to the annual 4 percent increase they would otherwise experience. It will also bring our traditional undergraduate program into greater alignment with our cohort and graduate programs, which from their inception have operated with a low- tuition/low-discount model.

The tuition reset is revenue neutral for Concordia given projected enrollment levels. The short-term cost to the university of including returning students, as well, in the tuition reset is being absorbed by Concordia through operations, donations to the annual fund and endowment.

What We Expect to Happen

Tuition Levels

For students from families that qualify for need-based financial aid, their Federal Pell and Minnesota State Grants will stretch farther in covering a greater portion of their tuition expense. And the tuition decrease will reduce the out-of-pocket cost for students from families that do not qualify for federal or state need-based financial aid.

With our published tuition price rolled back to approximately what it was a decade ago, Concordia will become one of the most affordable private colleges or universities in Minnesota and in the Concordia University System. The average net cost for our students will be comparable to the cost of the region's public universities. In resetting tuition, nothing has been cut or eliminated from the Concordia educational experience in or out of the classroom. So retaining the high quality of the education we provide while reducing our tuition price will enhance our value equation.

Modest enrollment growth is projected due to the elimination or reduction of cost barriers that now prevent some students and their families from choosing a private university. Nevertheless, Concordia's strategic goal is to maintain a traditional student population of approximately 1,500 to ensure a quality experience in and out of the classroom.

Concordia expects to boost donor contributions to our endowment, which will strengthen our capacity to manage tuition to the best advantage of students and limit future tuition increases.


Watch the Press Conference:

Concordia University Tuition Reset Press Conference Conducted by President Rev. Tom Ries

Featured Article Covering Concordia University's Tution Reset:

Minnesota Public Radio's All Things Considered: Concordia University cuts annual tution by $10K

Coverage of the success of the tuition reset is now live on our tuition reset reaction page.

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