A gift of support during a difficult year. This was Taylor University’s promise to their community in October 2020. In a press release and chapel on Oct. 30, Taylor University promised a tuition freeze for the 2021-2022 school year.
“We pray that this tuition pricing ‘freeze’ is a blessing to our students and families in the midst of this tumultuous year,” said Paige Comstock Cunningham, interim president of Taylor. “We remain committed to living life together in an unashamedly Christ-centered academic discipleship community.”
In the press release, the university stated that this comes out of a place of Christian virtue, and a recognition of the financial burden the Taylor community has felt during the duration of COVID-19.
This freeze has been made possible through the donors of Taylor.
“We are profoundly grateful to our donors who continue to invest in students through scholarships,” said Nathan W. Baker, vice president for enrollment management. “These resources make it possible for our students to pursue their calling and minister Christ’s redemptive love and truth to a world in need.”
In the press release, it is stated that “Taylor graduates complete their degree in 3.8 years (rather than the national average of 5.1 years),” which is significant as it prevents Taylor students from acquiring even more debt. The press release continues to state that 58% of Taylor’s 2019 graduates had an average debt of $26,009, and for comparison, across the nation, 62% of private college graduates had an average debt of $28,950.
Taylor’s tuition increases at a 4.3% average per year, but this is the first year in recent history that it has not increased in any degree. However, this has not stopped room and board from going up by 3.5%. At a university where 90% of students live on campus, this affects almost everyone enrolled.
The university has not given reason for this price increase, but was transparent about it in their press release. This does not sit right with some students, as they feel a raise in room and board is still a raise in prices. Others feel that the current set tuition isn’t a fair price either.
In the press release from October, Baker explains that in a survey conducted at the end of spring semester, the overwhelming majority of family responses have been happy with Taylor’s response. However, senior Personnel Assistant Clark Murray does not feel that that reflects what students have shared with him throughout this school year.
“I think it is honorable that they froze tuition, but we could have easily done a lot of (classwork) online,” said Murry, when talking about the decision to have in-person classes. “I know a lot of people that are online, but they're still living here. So they're paying way more than they normally should for the service.”
Despite the students online, whether for personal reasons or because of temporary COVID-related quarantines and isolations, the majority of students and professors on Taylor’s campus are fully in-person. This led to everyone having to learn and adapt quickly, which Baker found admirable.
“It was inspiring to see how our creative faculty and staff rose to the occasion knowing our community is not defined by geography,” he said.
The Taylor administration remains open to feedback, and promises to do their best to accommodate and support the Taylor Community for the unknown duration of COVID-19.
To Cunningham, this is just the right thing to do.
“More than ever before, it’s absolutely critical that holding steady to our mission had to look different this year,” she said.