My Two Cents

A few days ago, I found this article in the Trib.

IUP shifting away from flat-rate tuition

2011-12-13-Occupy Pittsburgh-36For disclosure, I applied to IUP as a high school senior and they accepted me. I never enrolled there.  I chose to attend Saint Vincent College (SVC) instead. My sister E. does have two degrees from IUP. However, this linked article provides almost my complete personal knowledge of IUP’s tuition practices. E. and I never discussed her college finances at IUP.

However, I want to respond to this article.

My alma mater SVC does not currently use a per-credit pricing model for full-time students. However, they did when I was a full-time student.

This was one of the few things that I did not like about Saint Vincent College.

To be clear, SVC blessed me with a generous scholarship. This was absolutely the only way that I could afford this school.  I feel  grateful and privileged for the opportunity.

However, a full-time course load required at least 12 credits per semester. I registered for between 12-18 credits. The tuition bill included a charge for each credit. When I registered for 18 credits, I paid for 6 more credits than I did for 12 credit terms. At a cost of – uh – several hundred dollars per credit.

I got the same financial aid whether the school billed me for 12 credits or 18 credits.

“Several hundred dollars” per credit x 6 credits =  A LOT. This difference all came out of my pocket.

So, I made academic choices mindful of this pricing model .  For instance, I only registered for 18 credits when I had a surplus in my checkbook.

I’m not the first person who let finances influence her education.  Obviously.

However, I when I read advice about college, I don’t see the per-credit pricing model for full time students mentioned. I didn’t think about this when I was a high school student. And yet it had an impact in how I planned my college experience. I got a good education at SVC, but I couldn’t afford to pay for credit hours that weren’t part of the graduation requirements. I graduated with exactly the number of credits that I needed for my degree program. (I took much cheaper community college classes to develop some skills that I wanted for my resume.) It would have been nice if somebody had mentioned this to me before I chose a school.

So I’m adding my two cents.