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‘True tuition’ may help retention

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The University of La Verne has had trouble recently retaining students from freshman through senior years. There are undoubtedly many reasons for this retention problem. However, the fact that tuition increases by between roughly 4 percent and 6 percent almost every year in recent memory – or more than twice the rate of inflation – is most likely one of the main reasons.

We understand that the University is a non-profit institution and tuition hikes are necessary for the school to operate. We are not proposing for the school to stop raising its tuition altogether. What we suggest is for the University to adopt a “true tuition” model.

Under a true tuition model, the University would only apply the increase in tuition on incoming students, and not to continuing students, who would continue to pay tuition at the rate it was when they started. This could help the school in its retention efforts. Students would know how much their tuition would be for their time here and they could plan accordingly. Any money lost by the University for not increasing tuition for continuing students would likely be made up in retention numbers.

The University has already implemented a true tuition model at the La Verne College of Law effective since 2014. At the College of Law, tuition is $28,000 per year for all full-time students or $24,000 a year for part-time students. That is the rate for all three years of full-time students’ legal education or the four years for a part-time student.

According to the La Verne College of Law website, it arrived at the flat tuition figure by examining loan availability in the absence of need-based aid for law students, as well as national median salary figures for first-year ABA accredited law school graduates, which the American Bar Association reports at roughly $70,000.

La Verne should look into doing the same for its undergraduate students. It would take some research. However, it just might begin to solve the University’s retention problem.

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