Simpson lowers tuition for C&G program, making it most affordable in Iowa


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by Noah Sacco, Staff Writer

After four years of college, students start thinking about graduate school. However, the cost of tuition can stand in their way.

Since part of Simpson College’s mission is to make education accessible to all students, the college recently decreased the tuition for its continuing and graduate programs, including evening and online classes. The price decrease is part of an effort to recruit and retain more nontraditional and part-time students.

The evening and online cost of attendance was originally set at $415 per credit hour but has been reduced to $375 per credit hour. Meanwhile, technology fees are $6 per credit hour, online fees are $20 per credit hour and there’s a one-time matriculation fee of $125.

These numbers makes Simpson the most affordable private college option for online and adult education in the state, according to dean of continuing, graduate and online programs Amy Gieseke.

“I completed a tuition comparison of our major competitors and found that we were not very competitive at our current tuition rate. This was true, particularly because Simpson is on a four-credit system whereas most of our competitors are on a 3-credit system,” Gieseke said.

Gieseke initially proposed the idea to make evening and online classes more financially feasible for students. She was also involved in forwarding the concept to the president’s cabinet for approval.

“I used the tuition comparison data in collaboration with others here at campus in admissions, financial aid, the business office and dean’s office, to determine what price point we felt would make us competitive and affordable for the adult student market. We landed on $375 per credit hour,” Gieseke said.

These classes are structured in a convenient format for working adults. Providing graduate students with online and evening courses allows them to create schedules each semester to suit their specific interests and needs.

Senior Vice President and Academic Dean Kent Eaton collaborated with Gieseke in developing this plan to increase the potential of reaching those who would benefit from a Simpson education.

“As economic challenges make it more difficult for many to attend a traditional college such as Simpson, our online programs help us make a college education a possibility to many who’d be out of reach otherwise. This is one of the ways we can democratize the college experience,” Eaton said.

The lower tuition rate applies to students admitted as a continuing and graduate student. Traditional students are allowed to take continuing and graduate students’ evening and online courses if preferred, but they still pay the traditional tuition rate.

Summer courses will also become administered through the graduate and continuing programs, so traditional students can pay the lower rate for any summer courses that they take.

“When Simpson changed from a three credit hour per course to four credit hours, one unintended consequence was that students could take fewer classes per year and still stay under the allowable amount for educational reimbursement. This lower price of tuition allows students to make academic progress more quickly,” Eaton said.

Early success is evident as it has influenced a number of adult students. Simpson has admitted 56 new undergraduate students into the evening programs this fall and more are expected to apply during the spring term.

“It makes good business sense, allowing us to be more competitive with our peers. It aligns with our mission of making college accessible and affordable for all students,” Gieseke said.