- Associated Press - Wednesday, September 13, 2017

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) - Tuition and fees are going down at Birmingham-Southern College.

The university said Tuesday that it’s reducing tuition and mandatory fees by more than 50 percent starting in fall 2018.

“The marketplace spoke, and we listened,” BSC President Linda Flaherty-Goldsmith said in a statement. “Students and families are telling colleges all across the United States - and they’re telling us - that encountering a high published price is a real barrier to a high-quality education. 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 what is was more than 15 years ago, officials said. Tuition for the 2017-18 academic year was $35,840. Beginning next year, tuition will be $17,650.

In 2018-19, BSC will have the most affordable published price among all of the South’s prestigious private colleges and universities, Al.com reports .

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 said BSC is able to reduce tuition without sacrificing education because more than 90 percent of students don’t pay full price already. BSC is generous with merit aid, and many students receive need-based financial aid and private scholarships, the college said.

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, according to the college.

“True college value comes from the quality and results you get. But a too-high published price creates two problems: It causes people to stop at the sticker price and lose sight of how the published price is very often not what they’ll really pay. And it also prevents them from learning how an investment in a high-quality education pays out over a students’ lifetime,” Flaherty-Goldsmith said. “BSC aims to correct both of those problems with our tuition reset.”

The new price will also apply to current students continuing next fall, BSC said. 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.

Some returning students could see a tuition price reduction of about $1,400, the college said.

“The difference with our reset is that now our published price more closely matches a student’s actual cost before need-based financial aid is awarded,” Flaherty-Goldsmith said. “With this better pricing transparency, we hope more students will be able to discover both the affordability and the value of a BSC education.”

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