A South Carolina college has recently challenged conventional ways of generating revenue by cutting tuition and its college administrators are saying that it’s working.
Benedict College, a four-year liberal art college, cut its tuition by 26%. Rather than increasing the number of students, it decided to implement an enrollment cap. Instead of cutting down on social science majors, it decided to cut them out completely in order to revamp STEM-related majors (science, technology, engineering, and math.)
This historically black college in Columbia made more revenue under this new plan than its previous years, when tuition was $5,800 more and the number of students was roughly around the same.
“We cut our costs and capped enrollment, and I think a lot of people were worried about the impact that would have on our cash reserves and our ability to sustain ourselves,” Artis said. “We have exceeded our revenue projections…so far our plans appear to be working well and Benedict is achieving its goals.” Benedict College President Roslyn Artis said.
When President Artis took over in 2017, she claimed that Benedict College was broke. “We’ve had a lot of change this year,” Artis said. “Our goal now is to sustain.”
How Could Benedict College Afford This?
The main reason why the idea of cutting tuition while still generating revenue worked, lies in the new policy that requires students to pay for tuition up front. School administrators said that it was challenging at first, given that 82% of its students all receive Pell Grants. Pell Grants are grants bestowed by the government to aid low-income background families. The school ameliorated this by launching a campaign to make sure students are aware of the changes in cost structure.
Benedict College also found ways to save money by phasing out seven majors: history, religion and philosophy, sociology, political science, mathematics, economics, and transportation engineering. Instead, they decided to take the funds from those classes and focus them in classes such as engineering, biology, computer science, and cybersecurity.