Washington College Launches FixedFor4
Continuing its attack on the issues of college cost, access, and student loan debt, Washington College today announced FixedFor4, a fixed-rate tuition plan beginning with next year’s freshman class and encompassing current undergraduates. President Sheila Bair, who has spearheaded the College’s efforts toward affordability over the past year, says the change will make it easier for students and their families to plan for and afford a four-year liberal arts education.
“Uncertainty makes financial planning difficult. For families on a tight budget, annual tuition increases make remaining in college financially untenable for many students,” President Bair says. “FixedFor4 means just what it says: Washington College students and their families will know precisely how much their tuition will be for the entirety of their four years here–guaranteed. That’s true regardless of whether the current economic worries about increasing inflation hold true. With FixedFor4, even as other costs may go up, we will protect families from tuition hikes.”
Here’s how FixedFor4 will work: Beginning next fall, tuition will increase 2 percent—to $43,702—to help cover the transitional cost of the program. That will be the fixed rate for freshmen who graduate in four years (the Class of 2021), as well as for students already enrolled. Beginning in the fall of 2018, tuition increases for freshman classes will be evaluated annually, but the rate, once set, will remain fixed for the students’ four years. The cost of room and board is not part of tuition and will continue to change annually depending on economic factors.
FixedFor4 is the latest in a series of affordability initiatives President Bair, the former chair of the FDIC, has pushed since her inauguration in September 2015. Each seeks to tackle the problems of affordability and accessibility from a different angle.
After initiating in September 2015 a tuition freeze through academic year 2016-17, the College launched Dam the Debt in May, which reduced the federally subsidized loan debt of 119 qualifying seniors by an average of $2,630, a 10.2 percent reduction in their total federal loan burden. In August, the first 16 students of George’s Brigade matriculated as part of the Class of 2020; these high-achieving, high-need, first-generation students will have their full tuition, room, board, and fees covered for all four years. Also in August, the College announced the Saver’s Scholarship, a College-matched award up to $2,500 annually, for students and families who use proceeds from a 529 or Educational Savings Account for tuition.
“FixedFor4 will help every single Washington College student currently enrolled, and their families,” President Bair says. “With each of these programs, Washington College is developing fresh solutions to make a college education more affordable and accessible, and establishing itself as a national leader on addressing these issues.”