Meghan Fellows, Staff Writer
There’s nothing like the sweet smell of student debt. It looms over every potential and returning student’s head.
At Utica College, though, newly inaugurated President Laura Casamento and many other members of the faculty made the push for a tuition reset that lowered the rates by over $14,000.
This time last year, tuition at UC was $33,946 including room and board for over $12,000. This fall semester, tuition rates dropped significantly, dipping down to $19,946, including room and board for $10,000. A change this dramatic has jacked attendance rates and has the college community buzzing.
Vice President of Student Affairs and Enrollment Management, Jeffrey Gates, stated that a lot of thought went into this reset.
“The reset was announced last September, but we have been researching the ins and outs of this process for two years,” Gates said. “Through our research, studies have shown that 47 percent of families think that college is far too expensive. One-third of potential Utica applicants did not want to attend Utica College because of the previous cost.”
UC freshman Anthony Bianco said that he heard about the tuition reset through the community.
“I live in Utica, so I knew of the change as soon as it was announced,” Bianco said.
For Bianco, the tuition decrease was a big push to attend the college, along with the option to live at home in order to save even more money in the long run.
“I went to a small school and about 15 kids out of my class of 70 ended up attending Utica because the tuition was so cheap for a private school,” Bianco said.
As expected, attendance rates have increased in major ways in the last year.
“Official attendance rates aren’t released until Sep. 16 this year, but we’re estimated for 685 incoming freshman and 220 incoming transfers,” Gates said.
Both sectors saw an increase since last semester.
When asked about any downsides to the tuition rate, Gates says that there hasn’t really been much backlash.
“We’ve had to expand the campus to downtown Utica for business majors and some students are staying at The Ramada Inn for extra housing, but we’ve been able to maintain the flood of new students quite well,” Gates said.
Although more and more students are attending UC, the most important thing for the staff was to make sure that the “small school” atmosphere was still a major factor in students’ learning experience.
With the value of education in mind, Gates believes that the $2 million dollar investment won’t change the quality of learning, the quality of UC’s staff or the way students engage in a more personal classroom setting.
Since the options for returning students to continue their education have increased, retention rate is also climbing. Many returning students may not see such a drastic change in their tuition fees, though.
“Returning students may save up to $1,000 every semester they return to UC,” Gates said.
That may not seem like a lot of money all at once, but with loans and interest rates, every bit helps.
“Some friends who had already been here didn’t notice a huge difference in cost after the reset was implemented,” freshman Belmin Dolic said.
However, Dolic did benefit from the reset.
“Without my scholarship and the lower tuition rates, I would have ended up going to a community college in order to save up for school,” he said.
UC is paving the way for a new generation of students who will be able to pay for school, but also be able to stay in school for the duration of their degree. Through calculated research, UC is making strides to aid in affordability and keep their students away from the added stress of crazy college debt that will last until they’re 65.