The University of Wisconsin offers a guarantee to graduate in four years. The University of Illinois guarantees its tuition for four years. Both offers are fairly new to colleges in general and don’t have much of a track record in terms of students enrolling under the programs. So which is a better deal? Or are they both just gimmicks for colleges to sooth the family fear of rising tuition costs?
So let’s take a closer look starting with the more tangible of the two offers: guaranteed tuition. If you attended the University of Illinois and had guaranteed tuition starting in the 2007-2008 academic year, you would have potentially saved $4,614. Had you attended St. John’s University in New York, a private school, your savings would have been $10,140.
Except that’s not actually the case at St. John’s.
See, for the 2011-12 academic year, undergraduate tuition is $33,125, that’s $2,545 less than the fixed (guaranteed) tuition o f $35,670 for incoming freshman. That probably means your tuition wouldn’t fall below the “normal” tuition until your junior year.
I can’t help but think that at St. John’s the guarantee isn’t really about saving you money but more about easing the fear of the astronomical college costs we have all been hearing about. You know how much the tuition is for the next four years so you can plan accordingly and not worry about rate increases.
Except for room and board.
It’s not included in the guarantee.
Given that the total cost of attendance at St. John’s starting in 2007 was $188,580, a potential savings of less than $10,000 doesn’t seem to be enough to be a major factor in my choice of which college to attend.
University of Illinois’ tuition guarantee plan works as you would expect so it really would be a savings of $4,614 over fours years. But like the St. John’s plan, it doesn’t include room and board. The total cost of attendance for the four years without the discount would have been $98,510.
Now I’m not one to belittle $5,000 but given the total cost of attendance and the horror stories of $50,000, $75,000, or $100,000 in debt, I think people give more value to the guarantee than what it’s actually worth.
Which come to think about it, is probably exactly what the colleges intend.
The table below lists the colleges with a guaranteed tuition based on information from the DIY College Rankings College Search Spreadsheet Fall 2012. I added schools that have announced that they will be implementing some version of tuition guarantees starting in the fall of 2013. Some of these may be limited to one class only.
You can visit Tuition Freezes, Tuition Cuts and Level Tuition for more information. However, some of the information needs to be updated since some of the institutions such as those in Georgia, have dropped their programs.
Next time, we’ll take a look at guaranteed graduation in four years.
Name State Type Full-time
AIB College of Business IA Private 571 Athens State University AL Public 1539 Baylor University TX Private 12350 50
Buena Vista University IA Private 2112 45
Burlington College VT Private 185 40
Cameron University OK Public 3973 5
Chicago State University IL Public 3585 3
Clearwater Christian College FL Private 509 40
Concordia University-Irvine CA Private 1542 45
Doane College-Crete NE Private 1059 53
D'Youville College NY Private 1649 20
East Central University OK Public 3161 14
East Texas Baptist University TX Private 1082 27
Eastern Illinois University IL Public 8602 34
George Washington University DC Private 9748 75
Governors State University IL Public 1241 Hardin-Simmons University TX Private 1627 29
Hiram College OH Private 1182 62
Hofstra University NY Private 6673 44
Holy Cross College at Notre Dame* IN Private 451 7
Huntingdon College AL Private 884 37
Illinois State University IL Public 17536 45
Immaculata University PA Private 1206 54
Langston University OK Public 2014 8
Metropolitan College of New York NY Private 773 31
New England Institute of Technology RI Private 2547 Niagra University NY Private 2894 61
Northeastern Illinois University IL Public 5580 4
Northeastern State University OK Public 5906 11
Northern Arizona University AZ Public 17610 29
Northern Illinois University IL Public 15233 28
Oklahoma City University OK Private 1861 35
Oklahoma Panhandle State University OK Public 1196 21
Oklahoma State University Institute of Technology-Okmulgee OK Public 2308 Oklahoma State University-Main Campus OK Public 16357 32
Pacific Union College CA Private 1358 21
Quincy University IL Private 1149 33
Rogers State University OK Public 2854 3
Roger Williams University RI Private 3833 47
Samuel Merritt University CA Private 507 78
Sewanee, The University of the South TN Private 1429 78
Southeastern Oklahoma State University OK Public 2887 10
Southern Illinois University Carbondale IL Public 13066 26
Southern Illinois University Edwardsville IL Public 9720 29
Southwestern Christian University* OK Private 504 13
St John's University-New York NY Private 11440 36
Tarleton State University TX Public 7006 17
The University of Texas at Dallas TX Public 9136 42
The University of Texas at El Paso TX Public 12746 8
Thomas More College KY Private 1296 30
University of Central Oklahoma OK Public 11094 11
University of Colorado Boulder CO Public 24166 41
University of Illinois at Chicago IL Public 15532 25
University of Illinois at Springfield IL Public 2047 50
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign IL Public 31311 67
University of Kansas KS Public 17665 32
University of Miami FL Private 9833 68
University of Oklahoma Norman Campus OK Public 17787 32
Western Illinois University IL Public 9520 33
Western Oregon University OR Public 4381 17