Letter to the editor: Tuition at BYU

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    A couple thoughts on how to change BYU’s tuition structure to improve the university: BYU should restructure its tuition to reflect the true costs of a BYU education and simultaneously give all admitted students scholarships to offset the cost increases.

    This simple change would better communicate the value of a BYU education to its students, which would likely improve the quality of students attracted to BYU, increase gratitude toward a BYU education and even increase donations and graduation rates.

    Furthermore, BYU would receive higher national rankings because 100 percent of its students would be receiving scholarships, graduation rates would improve and BYU’s alumni donations would likely increase. Because of its enrollment cap, BYU doesn’t want to recruit students; however, BYU must attract the most spiritually and educationally prepared LDS students in order to not squander the valuable investment made by the Church and its stakeholders.

    Many highly qualified LDS students turn away from BYU because they don’t receive scholarships or receive small scholarships; yet, most of these applicants don’t know that all BYU students receive large scholarships from the Church through tithing and subsidies.

    An important reason for this change is simply price perception. The perception of quality of all goods and services is heavily influenced by price. BYU’s extremely low tuition causes too many students to misperceive the value of a BYU education. Changing BYU’s tuition structure would impress on every student’s mind the true value and prestige of a BYU education.

    Imagine if every admitted student were able to attend their high school awards ceremony with an announced $40,000 scholarship from Brigham Young University. This would result in a dramatic surge of gratitude toward BYU and the Church!

    So how would this work? Simple: BYU would publish its tuition at its true, non-subsidized cost, say $12,000 a year. An applicant’s acceptance letter would inform them they are receiving a $9,000 a year ($36,000 over four years) scholar grant from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Of course, students would still be considered for additional academic-based scholarships, which would be the scholarships that currently exist. BYU would also have more flexibility in raising tuition rates for students who take longer than five years to graduate.

    Paul Lowry

    Tucson, Ariz.

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