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Liberty bucks trend in college tuition

October 22, 2009 : Paul McLinden

As colleges and universities nationwide begin to pass on financial burdens to students and parents in the form of tuition increases, Liberty University has managed to hold rates steady with no increases scheduled this year.

The College Board reported Tuesday that private-college tuition increased by 4.4 percent, or $1,096, to $26,273 per year; tuition for public schools saw a 6.5 percent rise of $429, to reach an average of $7,020 per year. Increases in both sectors came despite painful cost-cutting measures in areas such as faculty, food service and sports travel. In a time when consumer prices have declined by more than 2 percent, analysts suggest that the tuition increases, when adjusted to real terms, are closer to 9 percent.

Earlier this year Chancellor Jerry Falwell, Jr. announced that Liberty University would be cutting tuition for the 2009-10 academic year in an effort to make college more affordable for its new and existing students. Rates were reduced from $16,532 to less than $16,000 for up to 36 credit hours.

At that time, the chancellor also announced a tuition freeze for Liberty University Online, which is still in effect for fall semester.

“Thankfully, we have been able to avoid [tuition] increases this year, even as we have expanded staff and upgraded facilities,” Falwell said.

He noted that Liberty’s diverse population and broad support base lessens the school’s dependence on the local and regional economy: “We are blessed to have faithful donors and students from all over the world studying on campus and online.”