Although tuition will increase 4.9% next school year, there is little evidence to suggest annual increases have affected the applicant pool, said Heath Einstein, the dean of admission.
TCU’s direct estimated cost for the 2019-20 school year is $63,830, tuition alone being $49,160. Next year, tuition is set to increase to an estimated cost of $66,250.
Even though tuition is rising annually, Einstein said the admissions department doesn’t have a difficult time pitching the university to students.
“Families know that college is expensive these days, and so our conversations are less about the price point and more about helping them understand the value proposition of this lifelong investment,” Einstein said.
As a mother of two TCU students, TCU alumna Shauna James is not happy that tuition continues to increase every year.
James said the best remedy is to only increase tuition for incoming first-year students and to freeze the price throughout their four years.
“It’s one thing to keep raising it over and over, but I think that as incoming freshman you should have your tuition [froze],” James said.
However, Chancellor Victor Boschini doesn’t think that’s the best option.
“I’ve worked at a school that did that, and they canceled it because it backfired,” Boschini said. “What happened is eventually the underclassmen got angry, and they thought that they were paying for your benefits. It kind of created some dissension on campus.”
There are universities across the country that make efforts to make tuition more affordable, such as Duke University in Durham, North Carolina.
Duke University reviews each incoming student’s application and uses that information to determine the amount the family and student are expected to pay. Any additional amount comes in the form of scholarships, work-study and student loans, according to their website.
Kendall James, a senior communication studies major, said these universities offer more opportunities to students with a lower income and promote diversity and inclusion.
“They have a very structured system to make sure that students of lower income can actually come to the schools which makes these schools more diverse, especially in comparison to TCU, where our set tuition rate and financial aid are different and harder to obtain,” James said.
“We promote ourselves on diversity, but we don’t have a tuition or financial aid package that reflects our ability to be a truly diverse campus that isn’t catered to high socio-econimic status.”Kendall James
Students and parents have begun to look at the quality of a TCU education and what the value of education is with the name of TCU in comparison to other prestigious universities.
“Bang for the buck, it’s something to think about,” said Shauna James. “At some point, are we getting a Duke University education?”
Affordability is an issue TCU is also trying to address.
“Counselors in the Office of Admission, as well as the Office of Scholarships and Student Financial Aid, go to great lengths to explore ways in which families can afford TCU,” said Einstein.
As a recipient of the Dean’s Scholarship, Kendall James said her scholarship is covering less and less of her tuition each year.
The Dean’s scholarship was offered to her at $20,000 a year, and with the increase in tuition, the cost has gone up, but her scholarship has not.
“The problem for me is that the price I thought I was getting coming to TCU has increased a lot since I came as a freshman, and I think that it’s false advertising on TCU’s part to raise tuition because what I paid as a freshman is not the same as what I’m paying as a senior,” Kendall James said.
Over the past four years, the number of applications has increased by 8.6%, even though tuition continues to rise each year.
The Office of Admission provides students with printed materials, digital marketing, presentations and formal conversations to draw incoming students to TCU and ensure they know it can be affordable.