There are several different tactics colleges use to try and attract students. One of the more popular has to do with the discount rate: offering more financial aid to students who arguably didn’t really need scholarships but who the colleges want to attract. But the latest trend seems to be just making the tuition rate consistent over time.
According to a piece by Katy Hopkins at U.S. News & World Report:
At some schools… incoming students and their families don’t have to factor in the possibility of rising tuition. Through tuition guarantee plans, schools including the University of Kansas, Immaculata University, and Capitol College have been promising incoming freshmen that their tuition bills won’t increase in subsequent years….
Schools’ tuition guarantee programs can vary in name and rules. At the University of Kansas (KU), for example, the program is called a tuition compact, while at George Washington University, it’s known as fixed tuition. The University of Colorado—Boulder’s program only extends to nonresident students, and Columbia College, unlike some institutions, allows students to qualify for the fixed rate for five years, rather than four. But all programs may help prospective families to better gauge the total costs of an undergraduate education.
At least in part because this tuition plan comes under so many different names, and under so many different rules, it’s not clear how many American colleges now offer it.
The average American public college increased tuition and fees by 8.3 percent during the 2011-2012 school year. Private colleges hiked tuition and fees by 4.5 percent during the same period.