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University sets record six-year graduation rate

The first class to enroll under the University of Dayton’s transparent tuition plan has set a record six-year graduation rate of 81.5% and reduced student loan borrowing by $10 million compared to graduates before the plan.

The fixed net-price, no-fees tuition model ensures each student understands the full cost of their four-year degree upfront. There are no hidden expenses; the university eliminated all fees and students’ scholarships rise to offset any tuition increases, so what they pay each year stays the same.

“As a Catholic and Marianist institution, we are proud to be a leader on what we see as a moral and ethical obligation to students and their families. A college degree is one of the most important investments someone can make in their life, and we believe students deserve clarity about the price of that investment upfront,” said President Eric F. Spina. “With the continued success of our students we have even more proof that cost transparency makes a huge difference in helping more students graduate on time with less debt.”

Compared to the previous graduating class, average student loan debt decreased by 19%. Borrowing decreased for student groups of every race and every socioeconomic background. On average, graduates borrowed about $18,800, less than the national average of $20,000 for students graduating from private, nonprofit four-year universities, according to College Board.

The class’ 81.5% six-year graduation rate is 2 percentage points higher than UD’s previous class. The six-year graduation rate is notable because it is reported and tracked at the federal level. The national benchmark for six-year graduation rates at private four-year universities is 66% based on the latest data available from the National Center for Education Statistics.

“Our focus on tuition transparency has driven great results for students, in concert with other University initiatives to improve access, affordability and student success,” said Jason Reinoehl, vice president for strategic enrollment management. “We have seen positive trends on campus, including new records for socioeconomic diversity as measured by the number of students eligible for the federal Pell Grant. We also continue to see more students persist toward graduation, guided by faculty advisors and other efforts of a campus-wide focus on student success and persistence. 

“What we have found is that when students know their costs upfront — without worries about hidden fees or unexpected tuition increases — they can focus on the many valuable aspects of their education, from the classroom to hands-on professional experiences to their development as a whole person.”

The University has received national acclaim for its transparent approach to tuition and continues to lead as one of the only institutions in the country to truly eliminate all fees. The University’s approach also offers students access to a textbook scholarship worth up to $4,000 over four years and study abroad scholarships of $3,000. 

Students' personalized financial aid letters not only include the tuition price for all four years, but forecast room and board expenses. The letters also help students compare schools with clear language on the difference between scholarships, grants, work study and student loans — terminology which is not always uniform between institutions, causing confusion for many families.

Finally, the University also has recently extended the tuition plan to transfer students and to students in the UD Sinclair Academy.


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