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McGill As a Model

Although it makes no similar promise to residents of Canada — who pay markedly lower tuition and fees — McGill University in Montreal has found another way, beyond reasonable prices, to court students from south of the border: fixed tuition for all four undergraduate years.

McGill Tuition Comp.jpg

Savor those words: “Tuition rate is guaranteed for the duration of the program as long as there is no break in enrollment or transfer of the degree program.” With costs at the College rising on the order of 4.8%/year for the last five years, except for this year’s 2.9% increase (still twice the CPI), a senior enjoying a program at Dartmouth that emulated McGill’s restraint would pay 15.10% less tuition than freshmen. Real money.

Let’s interpret McGill’s policy as yet another crack in the dike against lower prices for higher education. More cracks will appear, until at some point the dam bursts open. The school that can radically cut its bloated cost structure, and thereby be able to slash tuition, will be admired far and wide, and will have resources to spare to create an extraordinary educational program. Is anyone listening?

Addendum: As we have noted in the past, today if you want frozen tuition at the College, all you have to do is pay the full whack in advance. With tuition alone costing $46,763 in the coming year, that step would mean writing a check to cover the non-room and board part of your child’s undergraduate education in the amount of $187,052.

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