Photo by John Froschauer

Pacific Lutheran University (PLU) announced recently a Fixed Tuition Guarantee that will ensure tuition for the 2022-23 incoming class will remain the same throughout its entire undergraduate program.

According to a press release, this guarantee disrupts the general practice of private higher education institutions to increase the tuition by three to five percent every spring semester.

“These gradual tuition increases often throw off the careful financial calculations that students and their families made to enroll,” said PLU President Allan Belton in a prepared statement. "Some students and families can end up cumulatively paying upwards of $10,000 to $12,000 more for education due to these incremental tuition hikes, and these are real costs that don't have additional scholarship aid. This can push families into financial hardship or force students to leave their university with debt but without a degree. We need to stop that cycle.”

The tuition guarantee does have a potential risk to the university. But officials are confident about how the move will benefit the overall wellbeing and academic performance of students, per the release.

“This guarantee has the potential to widen our pool of prospective students, but most importantly, we think it has the potential to substantially improve graduation rates by removing the unnecessary financial burdens caused by tuition increases,” said Mike Frechette, PLU’s dean of enrollment management and student financial services, in a prepared statement. "At PLU, we believe in access, but access without success is not opportunity. I'm proud that PLU is helping to remove barriers to graduation through this clear financial support."

The tuition guarantee is the latest development in series of initiatives from the university; another recently announced development was The PLU Pledge, a loan repayment assistance program that, like the tuition guarantee, looks to reduce financial risk to students, especially those from middle- and low-income families.