Betsy Fleming, channeling the late management guru Peter Drucker, says there are two crimes in business: Pretending to cost more than you do, and buying customers. “Colleges are in the business of doing both,” says Ms. Fleming, president of Converse College, a women’s institution in South Carolina. “We are not going to do that anymore.”
Last month Converse became one of the latest institutions to announce that it was going to slash its tuition, of $29,124, which no one paid anyway, and “reset” that price down 43 percent to $16,500.
Ms. Fleming and the Converse trustees who backed the plan talk about the “transparency” of the new tuition—the way it clarifies Converse’s real cost both within the college and for prospective students and their families. Those groups often don’t understand the complicated world of sticker prices and discount rates, or the average percentage of tuition covered by institutional aid. <Read more.>