A sign that tuition is too high: Some colleges are hacking it in half

Over the last two years, applications at Colby-Sawyer College, a small, quaint assemblage of red brick buildings surrounded by three mountains, fell about 10 percent, hurt by the pandemic and by competition from less expensive public colleges across the Northeast.

Against that backdrop, Colby-Sawyer made what looks like a radical decision. It hacked the official price of tuition for the 2023-24 school year to $17,500, from about $46,000, a drop of 62 percent. Its published tuition is now only slightly higher than the cost of attending regional public universities.

Colby-Sawyer has joined a growing number of small, private colleges in what’s called the tuition reset, which overhauls prices to reflect what most students actually pay after discounting through need-based and merit financial aid.

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