N.J. university cuts tuition 20% or more to new students

Fairleigh Dickinson, understanding the hardships of COVID-19, also freezes tuition rates for existing students
By: | October 20, 2020
Barry Winiker/Getty Images

Openly recognizing that cost has been one of the barriers to students applying for enrollment, Fairleigh Dickinson University in New Jersey on Tuesday said it would reduce undergraduate tuition for new students by as much as 25%.

The university dropped its annual tuition rate from almost $44,000 to $32,000 for incoming students in the fall of 2021 and also said it would put a freeze on tuition rates for existing students for the second straight academic year through 2021-2022. It is not reducing fees or other items such as room and board, which can cost more than $11,000.

Fairleigh Dickinson, which ranked in the top 20 of U.S. News and World Report’s “Best Value Schools” and was on Money magazine’s list of” Best Colleges for Your Money”, said hardships that families have experienced during the COVID-19 pandemic played a large part in the reduction.

“Many students and their families recognize the value of an FDU education but understandably don’t believe they can afford the tuition,” said Christopher Capuano, president of FDU. “By reducing our tuition and bringing greater clarity to the actual cost of attending Fairleigh Dickinson University, we are removing significant obstacles and putting attainability of an FDU degree within reach of a wider range of individuals.”

Before this reduction, FDU had taken several steps to try to mitigate costs to students. Aside from the tuition freeze it:

  • Lowered the costs of graduate tuition this past spring
  • Dropped rates for summer school and winter sessions
  • Launched a campaign for increased scholarship funds

In several pieces of literature released to the community and beyond, Fairleigh Dickinson noted the amount of financial aid potentially being left on the table by those who ultimately feel they can’t attend the university because of the tuition number. U.S. Department of Education statistics note, in fact, that the average annual cost to attend FDU after financial aid (and before the new further tuition reduction) is a little more than $13,000.

FDU said it “will continue to provide generous financial aid packages and financial awards to its students” and will not be lowering the standards of any of its academic programs or halting other campus initiatives. The goal, officials say, is to improve “student retention and success, as well as creating greater access and affordability.”

Many other colleges and universities in New Jersey that face enrollment challenges have also discounted costs.

Princeton University implemented a 10% reduction on tuition for the 2020-21 academic year, and also cut all athletic and activities costs plus is pro-rating room of board for students not on campus after the Thanksgiving break. Rowan University knocked 10% off tuition in July and Rider University lowered tuition and fees by 3.3%. Rutgers University did not lower tuition but reduced fees on campus by 15%. Kean University said it would keep tuition and fees flat. Seton Hall increased its tuition by 3.5% in June.


Chris Burt is a reporter and editor for University Business. He can be reached at cburt@lrp.com