Coupons...even GROUPONS for college TUITION? Since when did college go on sale?!
By GalTime's Consumer Watchdog Mary Schwager
Worried about the high price of college? Get this: We found some schools are having tuition sales! Others are offering special deals and even Groupons -- all to attract budget conscious students to campus. When Ramona Stephen saw this Groupon -- yess a Groupon -- that National Louis University was offering for a three-credit "Intro to Teaching Class", she jumped. It normally costs $2,200 but was being offered at just $950! "It was the right opportunity at the right time at the right price."
National Louis University in Chicago is the first school in the country to ever offer a Groupon for tuition and it worked! University President Dr. Nivine Megahed says 17 students signed up. "We decided to look at this concept because we knew that our students today are very sharp consumers."
College Admissions Strategist Stephen Roy Goodman says there are all kinds of twists to the education deals out there. "The incentives are quite popular. Universities are more broadly recruiting students than they ever have."
Check out just some of the deals we found:
- The University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee, offered 10 percent off tuition and fees, which dropped the total school sticker price by $4600.
- Grace College in Indiana offers an accelerated three-year degree program that saves students about 25 percent on the cost of college.
- Columbus State Community college in Central Ohio gives students 24 years and older up to thirty-five hundred dollars in scholarship money over two years.
- Colorado State's online school offers tuition lock for undergrads of three hundred and fifty dollars per credit hour.
But what if the school you have your heart set on isn't running a sale? Goodman says negotiate! "It is important to understand you can negotiate. It's got to be done in a subtle and polite way but you can negotiate." If you're scratching your head wondering, "How the heck do I negotiate with a college?" Here are some tips:
- Treat it like you would a job interview and negotiation. Note all your accomplishments and areas you excel in, then apply to schools with special programs or sports in those areas.
- You may be able to negotiate more with a school not at the top of the rankings in the areas you excel.
- Explain what value your achievements and background will add to the school and student body.
- If you have one offer from a school, use it to politely negotiate a better deal with another.
Related: College Sticker Shock
But, Goodman cautions, always weigh whether a tuition break will get you where you really want to go after college. "A discount is great but you always want to ask what that discount is getting you and what that school degree or program is going to get you."
National Louis University student Tom Schwal, who also signed up for the Groupon, says the discount is actually getting him on the academic path he's dreamed about. "Teaching is something I was thinking about for a long time so this Groupon definitely inspired me." Many schools are announcing any tuition breaks, discounts or special programs on their websites. Look on the university's home page and check in their "news release" section for the latest information and what could be coming in the future.
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