Gordon College in Wenham, Massachusetts on Thursday announced a 33% tuition cut in an effort to make Christian education more easily accessible. The New England institution joins two other Council for Christian Colleges and Universities members that have reduced their tuition over the past two weeks.
Gordon College’s price cut will go into effect in fall 2021, lowering the school’s tuition to $25,250. The annual cost — including room, board, and other fees — will drop from $50,650 to $37,950. According to a 2019 CCCU survey, Gordon college is now one of only 11 Christian schools within the organization to ever reset its tuition.
Gordon President Michael Lindsay said the nondenominational Christian college hopes to lead the way in making education more accessible and financially possible.
“We’re hoping that we’re at the leading edge of a larger movement whereby Christian higher education makes a larger commitment to becoming more affordable for more families,” Lindsay told Religion News Service.
“We’re also hoping that this major push will increase access opportunities for students who are the first of their families to go to college, as well as students from underrepresented groups,” he added.
Gordon’s announcement follows an anonymous $75.5 million donation made to the college last year. These funds, in combination with another $50 million raised, will go directly toward scholarships.
“We’re doing something novel by doing a sizable reduction in tuition and fees, but also still retaining virtually all our scholarships,” Lindsay emphasized.
Houghton College in Caneadea, New York announced in late September that it would also be reducing tuition costs by 53%. The fall 2021 tuition rate will decrease to $15,900.
While the reduction in tuition was made possible by a fundraising campaign that garnered $70 million, Houghton’s decision to move away from the traditional “discount model” was a determining factor as well.
Houghton President Shirley Mullen said the new model “will give us much more ability to make sure our scholarships are going to high ability, high need students, rather than high ability, low need students.”
Seattle Pacific University, another Wesleyan school located in Washington state’s largest city, announced its own 25% tuition cut. Additionally, the school placed a 4% cap on future tuition rate increases.
Nate Mouttet, Seattle Pacific’s vice president for enrollment management and marketing, said the price reset would lower the price barrier while still offering merit and faith-based scholarships.
“The perception of our top line price was becoming a greater and greater barrier,” Mouttet explained. “Many students rule out a private Christian university because they can’t see how it’s going to be possible to afford it. But all students should be able to at least consider a smaller private Christian university.”