Winter 2021 Tuition Discount
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Catholic Higher Ed Institutions Meet the Tuition Need


Average tuition discount rates at Catholic colleges and universities surpass overall rates

By Nadine Jalandoni


Earlier this year, NACUBO released a new report on tuition discounting by private nonprofit colleges and universities.  Institutional discount rate measures total institutional grant dollars awarded by the participating provider, nonprofit college or university as a percentage of the gross tuition and fee revenue these institutions would collect if all students paid the sticker price.  Overall, the study found that discount rates increased from 44.3% in 2011-2012 to 53.9% in 2020-2021 for first-time undergraduate students.Tuition Data Comparisons

Of the 361 institutions who participated in the study, 90 were Catholic higher education institutions.  The participating CHEIs were a combination of Baccalaureate (15), Masters (47), and Doctoral/Research (28) institutions, using the Carnegie classifications categories.  ACCU was able to pull the latest data on tuition discount rates for these institutions for both the 2019-2020 and 2020-2021 academic years and found some interesting comparisons.

As the table below shows, the national average tuition discount rates of the Catholic Higher Education Institutions (CHEIs) is higher at 55.9%, two percentage points higher than the overall NACUBO finding of 53.9%. Higher tuition discount rates by Catholic institutions offering Masters and Doctoral programs accounted for this difference.  It would appear that the entering first-year class at CHEIs fared well and possibly benefited from the government grants received by CHEIs from the CARES Act (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security) passed on March 2020.


Average Tuition Discount Rate for Entering Full Time First-Year Students*

Carnegie Classification All Institutions Catholic Institutions
Degree Type 2019-2020 2020-2021 2019-2020 2020-2021
Baccalaureate 55.3% 58.4% 54.1% 58.1%
Masters 53.0% 55.3% 56.1% 57.5%
Doctoral/Research 48.2% 50.2% 50.9% 52.3%
All Degree Types 51.2% 53.9% 54.2% 55.9%

Source: NACUBO 2020 Tuition Discount Study


Nadine Jalandoni is Director of Research at the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities. 

Committed to Catholic Education Scholarship

Our ACCU members are committed to supporting students through tuition assistance programs and scholarships. 


“Caldwell Commitment” Program to Provide Full Tuition Scholarships For Qualified Students 

Caldwell University announced its new “Caldwell Commitment” program to provide scholarship and grant monies to more students entering as new undergraduates to the University beginning in the Spring or Fall semesters of 2022.    Full tuition scholarship are being offered for qualified Federal Pell Grant and Tuition Aid Grant (TAG) eligible students.

“Many families have suffered from the economic disruptions of the COVID-19 pandemic.  That’s why we at Caldwell University are pleased to offer students and families our commitment to helping them reduce their costs during these challenging times,” said President Matthew Whelan, Ed.D.  

Caldwell is offering full tuition to new freshman and transfer students entering Caldwell in Spring or Fall 2022 who receive both a Federal Pell Grant and the New Jersey Tuition Aid Grant (TAG) and have at least a 3.0 high school GPA.  The Federal Pell Grant program awards need-based grants to low-income undergraduate students. TAG is a need-based financial aid program for full-time undergraduate students who reside in New Jersey and are enrolled in an approved degree or certificate program.  

Additionally, the University is implementing a transparent scholarship model awarding scholarships based on levels of academic achievement for students regardless of where they reside or of grant eligibility. 

A sliding scale based on academic achievement is available on the University’s website. There will be no SAT or ACT requirement for these scholarships.  

“We want to remove tuition obstacles for our students, help them achieve their dreams of attaining a university degree, and of making their mark in the world. Growing up as one of eight children, I remember the sacrifices my own family faced and how, as a college student, a Federal Pell Grant helped me afford a quality education,” said President Whelan.  

Students who want to take advantage of the “Caldwell Commitment'' for Fall 2022 are urged to file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid known as the FAFSA no later than February 1, 2022 in order to determine eligibility.  Students may go to to complete the FAFSA.  For students who are not eligible for the program, Caldwell University provides other generous financial aid packages with significant need-based assistance in addition to the merit scholarship program to help make their university education affordable.  To find out more, contact the Caldwell University Admissions Office at 

Photo courtesy of Caldwell University


Providence College Renews Committment to Catholic Education throught FRIARSERVE

Providence College has made a second gift of $100,000 to the Diocese of Providence Catholic School Office (CSO) to support Catholic education in Rhode Island through its innovative FriarServe program. The funding will continue to be paired with a service component involving PC students, faculty, and staff. Five hundred twelve (512) Providence College students, faculty, and staff have volunteered more than 2,500 hours of service over the first four years of FriarServe. The service component of the program has now also been renewed for another four years. 

“We are pleased to renew our commitment to Catholic education at the K-12 level in the Diocese of Providence with a new, four-year commitment to the FriarServe program,” said Providence College President Kenneth R. Sicard, O.P.  “I am immensely proud of the work of our students, faculty, and staff who have volunteered their services in the five FriarServe schools over the initial years of the program, and, especially, how we were able to pivot to offering some of those services virtually during the last year. In addition, I know that our financial support has made a substantial difference in the lives of dozens of children attending Diocesan Catholic schools, and I am so pleased that we are able to continue this commitment,” Fr. Sicard said.

“I am very grateful to Providence College for the financial support it has offered once again for several of our Catholic elementary schools,” said the Most Reverend Thomas J. Tobin, Bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Providence. “This very generous contribution recognizes the importance of Catholic education in our community, and will certainly be a blessing for our students, their families and our schools. Thank you, Fr. Sicard!”

The first contribution of its kind to the diocese was made in 2017 in honor of PC’s Centennial. The College’s second gift will once again be made through the CSO in equal sums of $25,000 for four years. The money will be used for scholarships to students attending Catholic elementary and secondary schools via the CSO’s Anchor of Hope Fund, a diocesan financial assistance fund that helps financially strapped families secure a Catholic school education for their children. Part of the gift will be used to continue the Bishop Matthew Harkins Founder Fund, which was created in recognition of the founder of Providence College, to provide tuitionassistance to students attending four urban Catholic elementary schools in the City of Providence and one in Johnston. Schools participating in this round of FriarServe are Bishop McVinney School (South Providence), Blessed Sacrament School (Mt. Pleasant), St. Augustine School (Mt. Pleasant), St. Pius V School (Elmhurst) and St. Rocco School (Johnston), which is new to the program. 

The five elementary schools all have Reading Weeks, Service Days, and other events where the presence and support of members of the Providence College community will be of great benefit to the individual school communities. Many students at these schools will also benefit from having PC students as mentors and/or volunteer tutors. The College will work with the CSO as well as each individual school to ascertain individual school needs and coordinate volunteer opportunities for PC students, faculty and staff.

The scholarships and service component of the program are beginning with the start of the new academic year.

Photo courtesy of Providence College