How Colleges Know What You Can Afford (and the Limits of That Tactic)

Article/Op-Ed in New York Times
May 17, 2017

Kevin Carey wrote for the New York Times about college tuition discounting

Earlier this month, Kelly Jordan, vice president for student affairs at Holy Cross College in South Bend, Ind., accidentally sent an email to the entire student body declaring that the small Catholic college was on the brink of financial ruin.
“It may be that I will spend the better part of the coming year closing down the college,” Mr. Jordan wrote, in what was supposed to be a “strictly confidential” message to the administrator of an Indiana boarding school where Mr. Jordan hoped to get work.
Holy Cross leaders quickly announced that Mr. Jordan was departing and that they had a robust plan for the future. But Holy Cross has serious financial troubles, and it is not alone. A handful of small private colleges have gone under in recent years, and dozens more have seen their credit ratings downgraded. The underlying financial weakness of private colleges is a nationwide problem, according to a new report from the National Association of College and University Business Officers. And by one important measure, it is worse than ever.