Colleges Lure Stranded Students With 50% Off Tuition, Free Dorms

With many students rethinking their college plans amid the ongoing pandemic, some institutions are getting creative to attract and retain students. A growing number of colleges are offering deep discounts on tuition, free dorms, and other incentives to fill seats and bolster their bottom line.

At a time when many universities are facing financial strain and declining enrollment, these discounts can be a win-win for both the colleges and students. For students who may have been considering a gap year or online classes, the promise of significantly reduced costs can make the prospect of in-person learning much more appealing.

One college offering 50% off tuition is the University of the Ozarks, a small liberal arts school in Arkansas. The university’s “Finish Strong” program is aimed at juniors and seniors who were attending other institutions before the pandemic. By transferring to Ozarks, these students can complete their degrees at a fraction of the cost they would have paid at their original school.

Other colleges are focusing on the room part of the room-and-board equation. The University of Findlay in Ohio is offering free housing to all incoming freshmen, a perk valued at over $10,000. The university hopes the incentive will attract more students to its campus and provide a more traditional college experience despite the challenges of the pandemic.

While these discounts can be enticing, students and families should do their homework before making a decision. It’s important to consider not just the upfront cost savings, but also the long-term value of the education and the overall fit of the college. A cheaper tuition bill may not be worth it if the college doesn’t offer strong programs in the student’s desired major, or if the campus culture isn’t a good fit.

Additionally, students should ask questions about how long the discounts will last. Is the 50% tuition scholarship just for the first year, or will it renew for all four years? Are there any strings attached, such as maintaining a certain GPA?

For the right student, these discounts can make the dream of a college education more affordable than ever. But as with any big decision, it’s crucial to weigh the pros and cons and consider multiple factors before making a choice.

As the higher education landscape continues to evolve in response to the pandemic, students and families should stay tuned for more creative offers from colleges. Whether it’s tuition discounts, free housing, or other perks, there are deals to be had for those willing to think outside the box and consider new options.