College at a Discount, part two.

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A couple of weeks back, National Louis University of Chicago offered the first coupon for college, via Groupon. See the story here. While many — or most — colleges provide a discounted tuition offering grants and loans through financial aid letters sent with an acceptance, it’s rare that a prospective student catches a glimpse of the actual discount prior to application.

Seton Hall University, a private Catholic university in New Jersey, stepped into more transparent territory in college discounting this week, offering a specific cut off the top for their best applicants. See the New York Times article, College Offers Top Applicants Two-Thirds Off..

“The primary motivation has been that as we go through what looks like a double-dip recession, we wanted to help our students,” Seton Hall’s president, Gabriel Esteban, said of the new approach. But in addition, he said, “it probably will help us in attracting a certain quality of students.”

To qualify for the discount, which would equal about two-thirds of this year’s $31,440 tuition (room, board and other fees add about $13,000 to the total annual bill), students must graduate in the top 10 percent of their high school classes and have a combined score of at least 1,200 on their math and reading SATs — but no less than 550 on either — or an ACT score of 27 or above.

See the NYT College Admissions blog, The Choice, for discussion of Seton Hall’s move. Comments on this post mention a number of other schools offering merit-based aid, but few that cut tuition to this extent.

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