Dear Albright students and families,
Recently, a study of income mobility published in the New York Times showed that an Albright education helps a significant number of our graduates move up two or more income levels — among the highest movement compared to other Pennsylvania schools and selective private colleges across the nation. While we are proud to make such a difference in the lives of our alumni, we know that the financial road to an Albright degree is a burden for many. So today, we take a step forward with a significantly different tuition model for our traditional undergraduates.
In line with traditional higher education practices, Albright College has historically raised tuition annually (by an average of 4% each of the last 10 years), significantly outpacing the growth of median family income. It’s a practice that does not align with our college’s commitment to educating students of academic promise for success in lives and careers.
With this commitment driving our actions, we write to let you know of Albright’s new approach to tuition. Beginning with the 2019-20 academic year, Albright will break from the traditional model and will right-size its tuition by reducing it 45 percent, from $44,206 to $24,500.
In reality, very few students pay the full price of Albright’s tuition. Right-sizing tuition helps us to be more transparent about today’s higher education costs, and aims to reduce the tuition gap for upper class students, but it is not perfect.
Albright students who currently pay more than $38,122 (based on tuition, standard double room and gold meal plan) will benefit from a decrease in what they pay. Room, board and the student service fee will increase for all students for academic year 2019-2020; thus, a number of current students will still see an increase in overall cost. However, this increase will be much smaller than it would have been had the college continued its trend of raising tuition. Families should be aware that a cost reduction of this size will result in financial aid scaling that aligns with our new tuition right-sizing.
Currently, Albright offers significant financial aid to first-year students, but little need-based institutional aid to cover year-to-year tuition increases for sophomore, junior and senior students. And as tuition rises, need-based federal grant aid usually does not change for these students, often creating unanticipated bills. New research shows that this is most troubling for middle income families.
So the real value of lowering tuition today will be twofold: significantly smaller actual-dollar tuition increases in the future and our commitment to accessibility will expand with a new scholarship fundraising initiative for rising sophomores, juniors and seniors.
As an institution committed to educating students of academic promise, we believe that the life-changing benefits of an Albright education must be equally available to talented, determined students across the broadest range of socioeconomic backgrounds. Yet, nationally, gaps in college degree attainment and social mobility are growing. Increasingly – and all too often – the economic circumstances of a young person’s family define his or her future. In an era in which family incomes have stagnated and higher education costs have outpaced incomes, Albright is taking important steps to close the gap and make education affordable.
Please know that we understand you will have questions about Albright’s right-sized tuition, and we are ready to answer your questions and help you navigate changes. Some FAQs on our website may help to get you started. Or, if you wish to speak with an Albright financial aid counselor, please call 610-921-7515. Or, feel free to contact me or any member of the Albright College leadership team.
Jacquelyn S. Fetrow, Ph.D. ’82
President and Professor of Chemistry