St. Anselm College, Manchester

Aug 4, 2017 2:31 PM

St. Anselm's president supports college collaboration to decrease tuition prices

MANCHESTER - The president of St. Anselm College in Manchester is backing a proposal to change antitrust laws in the country that would allow for private colleges and universities to consult with each other about the cost of tuition, in an effort to drive cost down.

Dr. Steven DiSalvo is a Board Member and the Student Aid Committee Chair of the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities (NAICU), the group advocating for this change.

According to a Washington Post article, as recently at the 1990’s, private colleges would get together to discuss the high cost of tuition and how much financial aid to offer students. But that changed in 1991 when the Justice Department charged some Ivy League schools with price fixing. Since that day, even the mention of tuition could mean an investigation.

“We cannot talk to each other about pricing for the fear of collusion that we will drive the price up,” DiSalvo says.

But DiSalvo says this is the time to talk about tuition price. “We’re asking for a temporary exemption to drive the price down,” DiSalvo says. “It’s about resetting the gross price within the market. We’d have to get a group of schools within a region, to agree that we could all drop our gross price at the same time.”

But why can’t an individual college just reduce tuition costs on their own?

DiSalvo says other colleges have tried it but it doesn’t work, admission numbers decline.

DiSalvo equates it to purchasing a car. If the car you are looking at costs $30,000 and you see the same car other places for $30,000 but one place is offering the same car at $19,000, you don’t think, that’s a great deal. Most people are hesitant and would think there is something wrong with that car. The same thing happens when applied to private colleges.

“The reality is once you are out of line with the market price, there must be something wrong with that institution,” DiSalvo says.

He says the move would only allow prices to decrease. If tuition increased, they would be in violation of the agreement.

DiSalvo warns if we don’t attend to this soon, the fear is we will reach a ceiling and families will stop applying.

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