Archive for October 3rd, 2011

October 3, 2011

The big news is that Seton Hall’s new tuition discounts offer ‘clarity and certainty up front’

by Grace

Seton Hall University announced it will begin offering a $21,000 “blanket discount for top-flight students”.

To qualify for the discount, which would equal about two-thirds of this year’s $31,440 tuition (room, board and other fees add about $13,000 to the total annual bill), students must graduate in the top 10 percent of their high school classes and have a combined score of at least 1,200 on their math and reading SATs — but no less than 550 on either — or an ACT score of 27 or above.

The real news for me is that this new policy offers ‘clarity and certainty up front’

Even before this announcement, Seton Hall had offered and will presumably continue to offer merit scholarships, some more generous than $21,000.  However, the criteria for most of these are not so straightforward, effectively preventing an applicant from knowing up front if he will receive an a award.  This new policy should be applauded for its transparency.

To be clear, the university may have introduced this new transparency with an expectation of receiving a boost in the college ranking system.  More applicants with higher academic profiles would improve the selectivity portion of Seton Hall’s US News ranking grade, making this a win-win deal.

It appears that “stacking” is not allowed

Eighty-five percent of Seton Hall undergraduates received some financial aid this year, at a cost to the university of about $60 million. For those who would have received aid under the existing system, the savings from the discounted tuition would be less than the full $21,000.

As is typical, the university does not allow a student to “stack” merit money on top of need-based money.  This new tuition discount would simply reduce some or all need-based aid, lessening the beneficial impact for some low-income students.

For comparison purposes, here are the US News rankings.

  • Seton Hall is #132 among National Universities
  • Rutgers is #68 among National Universities

This story serves to highlight the sad fact that the approximate annual cost of attending a university ranked #132 is $50,000.  By comparison, the cost at Rutgers is about $25,000.  I know college rankings are imperfect, but still . . .

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