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Bluefield College reduces next fall’s tuition by 23%


BLUEFIELD, Va. (BP)–Bluefield College has announced a
23 percent reduction in annual tuition, from $8,770 to
$6,700.
Just two weeks after his formal inauguration as
president of the 850-student Virginia Baptist-related
college, Dan MacMillan made the announcement to faculty,
staff, students and members of the media at a news
conference on campus Dec. 3.
The college is “revising its current financial aid
system for traditional students,” MacMillan said, “in order
to stop the rising costs in tuition and reflect integrity in
Bluefield College pricing.”
MacMillan noted, “More often than not, these increases
are implemented at colleges and universities in order to
fund institutional aid. What that meant at Bluefield is that
we were providing ‘unfunded aid’ to some students at the
expense of other students,” or aid drawn from tuition
revenue.
The move will return Bluefield undergraduate tuition in
the fall of 1998 to near the 1993-94 academic year’s cost.
“The board (of trustees) is committed to simplifying
the financial aid system, and this new tuition plan can
achieve that,” MacMillan said. “We believe this new strategy
will make a Christian college education more accessible, and
thereby encourage more students to enroll at Bluefield. Our
commitment is, first, to help students better afford a
quality education, and we’re not sacrificing our quality to
do this. We are simply revising our financial aid system to
make this happen.”
Academic scholarships and athletic grants-in-aid will
still be available, but the college will no longer use
dollars from tuition increases to fund financial aid, thus
“unfunded aid” will no longer be a burden for students and
their parents. According to MacMillan, implementation of the
new pricing structure, which the college’s trustees and
administration considered for nearly a year, will give a
more honest reflection of what it actually costs to attend
Bluefield College.
The college will maintain its faculty-to-student ratio
of 1:16, MacMillan said, adding 60 percent of Bluefield’s
faculty have earned doctorate degrees.
Traditional students returning to Bluefield next fall
will face no increase in tuition under the new pricing plan,
MacMillan said. In fact, he said, out-of-pocket expenses may
decrease for some returning students, depending on how the
particular student meets financial aid criteria compared to
last year. In addition, MacMillan said the decision made to
reduce tuition demonstrates the Bluefield board’s commitment
to meet the challenges of a changing higher education
market.
In Virginia, the average annual cost to Virginians for
tuition and fees for state-supported schools is now more
than $4,000. Virginians attending private colleges in the
state pay an average of nearly $12,000 in tuition and fees
per year.
Average tuition at colleges and universities nationwide
has more than doubled since 1978, including average
increases of 5 percent each year since 1992, according to
The Southern Baptist Educator, published by the Association
of Southern Baptist Colleges and Schools.