Lyon College freezes tuition, housing, and meal plan rates for 2023-24 school year

by George Jared ([email protected]) 647 views 

Inflation has hit many families hard and at least one private college in Northeast Arkansas has decided to freeze its tuition, housing, and meal plan rates for the 2023-24 school year. The Lyon College Board of Trustees announced recently that it will not increase tuition or housing costs for the 2023-24 academic year.

“Our board members are extremely focused on our commitment to making a Lyon College education affordable and accessible for students and families,” said Perry Wilson, Lyon College Board of Trustees chair. “As the college-going rate in Arkansas continues to decline, it’s important for all colleges and universities to focus on efficiencies and cost-effectiveness in order to help maintain a healthy economy and workforce in the state.”

Assistant vice president for business and finance Joe Botana told Talk Business & Politics the average full-time tuition is about $30,000 annually. Meal and housing plans can collectively run from $10,000 to $11,000. But those aren’t real, out-of-pocket costs for nearly every student and their families, he said.

Almost all students qualify for scholarships, grants, and other forms of financial aid, he said. Commuters, those who don’t live on campus have at least 70% of their tuition costs covered by some form of financial aid on average, and in some cases it’s a higher percentage that’s covered. That means $30,000 in reality is only $9,000 per year or less.

Lyon College President Dr. Melissa Taverner said the College continues to focus on creating more accessibility, improving affordability and graduating more students.

“For 150 years, Lyon College has been deeply committed to our mission of preparing students for fulfilling personal and professional lives,” Taverner said. “By freezing our tuition, we are able to communicate clearly that we are firmly dedicated to helping our students complete their educational journeys and fulfill their career goals.”

There was 12% increase in new student enrollment from fall 2021 to fall 2022. The college had just under 500 students enrolled this fall, Botana added.

A number of factors will have to be considered if the freeze will extend beyond the next academic year, Botana said. Those will include operational cost increases and how other private colleges handle their tuition and housing costs. The goal is to ensure that students get the “quality, Lyon College experience, but at an affordable rate,” he said.

But the college has to remain competitive in its market, he added.

“As a college that serves many first-generation and Pell-eligible students, cost is also an important factor in retaining students,” Taverner said. “It’s extremely important to us to have robust scholarship and financial aid opportunities, outstanding academic and student support services, and life-changing student life experiences in order to meet the needs of our current and future students. “Our goal remains for Lyon College to deliver high-quality academic offerings at the highest proven value.”