At Webster’s Spring Convocation, Provost Julian Schuster announced a decrease to the university’s dispersal of grants and discount rates.
When discount rates are lowered, universities give out fewer and smaller institutional grants. In some cases, this means students have to pay more out of pocket.
“We know that we are holding steady in our undergraduate enrollment, while also we are bringing down our discount rate,” Schuster said. “We made tremendous strides in lowering the discount rate in the last two-and-a-half years, and we are going to continue that.”
Private institutions often offer discount rates on sticker prices of their tuitions to entice students into enrolling at the university, according to Inside Higher Education. In an August 2015 issue of Inside Higher Education, discount rates at private universities were reported to be growing nationwide.
According to Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges, the practice of raising discount rates is not financially responsible because it has the potential of chipping away at operational costs.
Schuster said lowering the discount rate while attempting to raise student enrollment can be a juggling act.
The university did not comment on the discount rate decrease by press time.
Inside Higher Education also reported that universities with decreasing student populations and declining revenue continued to increase discount rates on tuition to attract new students.
Schuster said focusing on enrollment and retention is an essential part of Webster’s current strategic plan.
“We will be not only focusing on bringing in new students, but taking the best possible care of our existing students,” Schuster said. “To new students, we are going to provide a promise, and to existing students we need to leap up to that promise in order to increase our graduation, retention rate and number of students at all of our campuses.”
Schuster said an increase in enrollment is the only way to address the challenges Webster faces, although he was not specific as to what those challenges were.
“With an increased number of students, we will have an increased revenue. With an increased revenue, we will be able to address something that is on everyone’s mind. But as you can see, there is no shortcut to that,” Schuster said.