I’m an information junkie. Especially, when it comes to the topics I teach on. I’ve been a major supporter of lower tuition and limited student loans for many years so I keep my ear out for any college that makes their students’ finances a priority. Which is why when I came across what Grace College is doing I was actually flabbergasted. I immediately scheduled an interview with Grace College’s president, Dr. Bill Katip for The Pete the Planner Radio Show. A college education is important, but so is a student’s financial future. Dr. Katip and his team at Grace College not only understand this, but they’ve taken action. Listen below to hear all the amazingly innovative programs Grace College has implemented and how they are saving students tons of money:
It all started in 2008. From the fall of ’08 to the fall of ’09 Grace College’s incoming freshman class fell from 346 to 290. And it wasn’t just the college that was suffering, it was the surrounding community as well. Every county that touched around Grace College suffered some period of time with 20% unemployment. The school wouldn’t survive at the rate they were going so a committee called Reimagine Grace was formed. Their mission was to answer the question, ‘if a new Grace College were to form in the coming year what would it look like? What would it’s mission be?’ They came back with the same mission the school already had, but with two new descriptive words: Affordability and Practicality. From there they got creative.
By studying adult-education programs, Grace found a way to award a four year degree in just three years. This feat was accomplished by expanding semester lengths, adding (no tuition!) online classes during the summer, and crediting applied learning (internships, etc.).
The innovation didn’t stop there though. Tuition to Grace College for the Fall 2015 semester has been lowered by 9%!!!!! Unbelievable! But it get’s better. If students stay enrolled at Grace for each consecutive year, the first year’s tuition will be the highest they ever pay. Each year students stay enrolled, tuition decreases by $500. Oh, and did I mention free textbooks? Yeah, free textbook rentals for all students.
The grand total of savings per student? $44,600. INSANE!!!
Of course, all these changes are only possible because of the administration’s dream and the hard work of the faculty. Now, let’s hope other schools get smart and follow Grace’s lead.
Peter Dunn a.k.a. Pete the Planner® is an award-winning financial mind and a former comedian. He’s a USA TODAY columnist, author of ten books, and is the host of the popular radio show and podcast, The Pete the Planner Show. Pete is considered one of the foremost experts on financial wellness in the world, but he’s just as likely to talk your ear off about bass fishing.