Cost-conscious families are forcing colleges and universities to keep a tight rein on tuition increases as competition for students remains fierce, but schools without a distinctive brand or value proposition are feeling the financial pinch the most, according to a report released Tuesday by Moody’s Investors Service.
The credit rating agency said three-quarters of the 159 colleges and universities polled for its annual survey expect that net tuition revenue — the money earned from students after schools provide financial aid — will grow roughly 2 percent to 2.5 percent for fiscal 2017. Those estimates reflect a continued trend of tuition increases tracking closely to the historic rate of inflation, following years of breakneck growth after the 2008 recession.
“It’s pretty much a steady pace,” Erin Ortiz, Moody’s analyst and co-author of the report, said of tuition revenue growth. “For public universities, we expected constrained growth, and it did slow a bit more than what we were expecting from last year.”