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Another College Moves to Reduce Sticker Price for Students

Perhaps there is a limit to how much families are willing to pay for college.

Yesterday, Concordia University, St. Paul announced it would cut tuition and fees by $10,000 next fall, bringing the annual cost of attending down to just under $20,000.

This roll-back at the school, which has 1,500 students, will make the price comparable to that of the region's public universities, according to Concordia's website. The school insists that in cutting tuition, nothing will be eliminated from the educational experience and that the move is designed to provide better value to students.

"In resetting our tuition to a price last seen a decade ago, we are responding to the concerns of students and families who feel our nation's colleges have become unaffordable," said Rev. Tom Ries, president of Concordia, in a press release. "We hope that other private colleges and universities will soon be able to follow our lead."

Could it be the beginning of a trend?

Last month, the University of Evansville, in Indiana, promised students a freeze on tuition for the next four years, although fees would likely continue to increase annually.

The University of the South, in Sewannee, Tenn., announced in January that it would hold the price of tuition, fees, room and board at nearly $45,000 for the next four years.

After experiencing a dip in enrollment, the University of Charleston, in West Virginia, reduced its price tag this fall by 22 percent.

The College Board reports that the sticker price of college is climbing, although students are increasingly receiving aid (nearly two-thirds of those attending full-time receive grants or tax credits to reduce the cost).

Published in-state tuition and fees at public four-year institutions were up 8.3 percent in 2011-12 over the previous year and 4.4 percent at private nonprofit four-year colleges. Inflation rose 3.6 percent in the same period.

Still, a report by researchers at Georgetown University give a "resounding yes" to the question: Is a college education worth the investment? A recent report from the Center on Education and the Workplace shows employment prospects are better and lifetime earnings significantly higher for Americans with college degrees.

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