As the cost of higher education continues to rise around the nation, one Ohio school is boldly taking a step in a different direction.
On Tuesday, Ashland University announced a 37 percent decrease in tuition for the 2014-2015 school year bringing the price tag for full-time undergraduate students down from a projected $30,064 to $18,908 next fall.
"This may serve as one of those catalyst moments in higher education where others are looking at this more intently," said Scott Van Loo, VP of Enrollment for the university. "This decision is not out of desperation or challenging times at our undergraduate level, it is something that we thought ... what is the most sustainable path for our institution?"
In fact freshman enrollment numbers are up this year according to Van Loo, with 634 freshman and 112 transfers registered.
Administrators anticipate the drastic tuition decrease will help entice more students to Ashland's campus.
"If we had continued on the path we were going with an average of 4 percent increase in tuition every year, over the next eight years, we would have cost over $50,000 dollars," explained Van Loo.
Federal and state aid will now pay a higher portion of Ashland's tuition bill while the university will reduce but not eliminate institutional grants and scholarships.
"We have adjusted our financial aid, but we're still remaining generous with our merit-based awards to students," said Van Loo. "Our top academic award is going to be $11,000 dollars, and, if a student is eligible for federal and state dollars, $5,500 for the Pell Grant and over $2,000 for the OCOG (Ohio College Opportunity Grant). They could have almost their full tuition paid for."
"I do have a little brother who is a freshman here and just the impact it will have for our family financially -- I know after 4 years here my college account is pretty well tapped out," said Christopher Manthey, a senior political science major.
"College itself is expensive, and seeing the initial cost is kinda like a take a step back," said Lauren Miller, a junior nursing major. "I thought it (tuition decrease) was awesome, and we all got so excited when we heard it I mean it's a great opportunity."