These New England Colleges Are Cutting Tuition. Here’s Why

Three colleges in New England are slashing tuition and costs to more accurately reflect what students pay with financial aid.
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  • Colby-Sawyer College is dropping in-state tuition by 62% as of the 2023-2024 school year.
  • Vermont State University will launch on July 1, 2023 with lower tuition than its unified colleges.
  • Lasell University is pushing for college-cost transparency by cutting tuition and room and board by 33%.

Average college tuition has tripled in the past 50 years, and more students find that college is not worth the cost. But in New England, a trio of colleges are dropping tuition to make higher education more accessible and reflect the true cost of school after considering financial aid.

Here's what the presidents of those institutions say is behind the tuition drops.

Colby-Sawyer College

This private college in New London, New Hampshire, is lowering tuition by 45% to offer a private education for a public college price.

Colby-Sawyer College president Susan D. Stuebner announced that the college is resetting tuition to more accurately represent what students pay to attend.

For the 2023-2024 academic year, Colby-Sawyer guarantees tuition of $17,500 instead of $46,364 (62% cut) for four-year undergraduates. The tuition reset chops the cost of attendance almost half (45%) from $63,500 to $36,000.

"For decades, we have worked to ensure that students and families do not bear the full burden of that cost," said Stuebener in her letter. "In fact, 100% of our currently enrolled students receive financial assistance."

Stuebener said that most prospective students and families don't know that, so they're removing the barrier to welcome more students and remove confusion around financial aid packages.

Students already pay close to the new tuition price, and Colby-Sawyer said that students will see financial aid adjusted lower to reflect the changes.

Vermont State University

The Vermont State University system is cutting its tuition for the new Vermont State University, which will launch on July 1, 2023.

The public Vermont State University system unifies Castleton University, Northern Vermont University, and Vermont Technical College into Vermont State University (VSU) starting the 2023-2024 year.

On September 23, the system's board of trustees announced that the total average in-state tuition between the three unified colleges will decrease by 15%, from $11,808 to $9,999 for VSU. VSU will also decrease out-of-state tuition to $19,998.

"When we lower financial barriers to higher education, we create more diverse and accessible classrooms while strengthening the pathways to economic mobility that we offer Vermonters," said VSU president Parwinder Grewal. "As a first-generation college student myself, I am deeply committed to ensuring that all students can access learning, no matter their backgrounds."

Lasell University

Located just outside of Boston in Newton, Massachusetts, this private university is lowering tuition and room and board by 33% to reflect the cost of college.

Tuition is being lowered from $42,630 to $26,000 and room and board from $16,500 to $13,500 for a standard double/triple dorm for 2023-2024.

Lasell University president Michael B. Alexander said that he knows students and families won't consider certain colleges based on the sticker price and that very few students end up paying anywhere close to that after financial aid.

Alexander's observation is borne out in national data: In 2019-2020, over 85% of first-time full-time undergraduate students received some kind of financial aid. The average institutional aid awarded was $11,723, and the federal scholarships and grants awarded averaged to $8,600.

Lasell University said on their website, "By increasing transparency of real cost — we aim to stop the game of finding an affordable college education — so you can focus on the right college, the right community, and the right future for you."