By Daniel Shelton & Nikko Lewis
Despite a recent 5 percent increase in tuition and graduates with an average of $20,000 in student loan debt, Trevecca remains one of the most affordable private Christian liberal arts schools in the nation—and the least expensive of all the Nazarene schools.
When compared with the 110 private Christian universities that are members of the Council of Christian Colleges and Universities, Trevecca ranks 83rd in cost of attendance.
Trevecca’s price tag of $28, 278 is the cheapest of the seven Nazarene colleges and close to $10,000 less than the most expensive, Point Loma Nazarene University.
“We manage our money conservatively, and we don’t borrow a lot of money,” Trevecca President Dan Boone said. “It’s also cheaper for us to operate here in the south, so that’s a factor as well.”
The average student at Trevecca receives $8,000 in financial aid, or 38 percent of their tuition price and has, on average, about $9,000 less student loan debt than the average American college graduate.
Still, administrators are brainstorming about other creative ways students can keep their borrowing to a minimum.
“We’re looking at what kind of entrepreneurial investments can Trevecca make.” Boone said.
Trevecca is trying to possibly make their coffee shop, print shop and their on-campus health clinic more open to the public so that the profits can be used to increase financial aid. Other possibilities include planning a subdivision of houses for the faculty that could be paid for by the faculty on a 15-year payout system. Most of that rental money would go to student aid, Boone said.
Another ideas is to purchase factories and business around the area that would employ students. Such ideas as a greenhouse and a technology recycling factory have already been discussed, Boone said.
“We look at what employments we can make for students,” Boone said “Because we want to help them finance their own education; we want to help them help themselves.”
High inflation has a major hand in tuition costs at schools nationwide.
Increasing personnel costs, (insurance, healthcare, etc. for employees) hit schools like Trevecca especially hard. Personnel costs make up half of Trevecca’s yearly expenses; and the rising costs of healthcare, insurance, etc. has created the demand for more income and, in turn, higher tuition. The school must also pay a fair sum to keep up technologically, with newer equipment, computers and programs and such.
Despite the increase in tuition costs, Trevecca has actually seen an increase in the number of student applications, particularly from non-Nazarene applicants. Trevecca’s current student body consists of 48 percent Nazarenes, the rest are from other denominations or, in some cases, other religions.
“The number of Nazarene kids applying has stayed pretty flat, but we’re seeing a larger diversity of denominations here, and I like that,” Boone said.