APU Cuts Tuition By More Than 30 Percent

Don Bantz
Don Bantz

Alaska Pacific University is lowering their tuition more than 30 percent. The president of the Anchorage private liberal arts college says the change will make a college education more affordable for Alaskans, and hopefully, boost their enrollment.

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Around the country, college tuition has been going up, outpacing the income growth of average Americans. Don Bantz, the President of Alaska Pacific University, says the APU Board decided to end that trend at their school.

“Affordability is the number one issue in higher education today. There’s a lot of talk about student debt and questioning the value of a higher education. We’re trying to make private, quality, liberal arts education affordable for Alaskans. And the $29,000 sticker price turned a lot of people off. They didn’t even wanna go any further,” Bantz said.

APU’s board decided at their regular meeting on May 16 to reduce tuition by nearly $10,000 per year– from $29,700 to $19,500. The 33 percent cut, Bantz says, makes APU more competitive with out-of-state colleges.

Bantz has been president at APU for three years. Before that he worked at the Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington. Bantz says APU has been giving students discounts on tuition for some time now, in order to make it affordable. Instead of continuing to discount, he says, the APU board decided to reduce tuition to what students were actually paying.

“If you want to send your kid outside to any of the big publics on the west coast – Washington, Oregon, all the way down. You’re gonna pay, out of state, about the same that you would pay here now for this private education. And you’re going to be in class sizes of 8, 9, 10 to 1 versus 300, 400, 500 to 1,” Bantz said.

The university has income from other sources, endowments and land holdings to off set the loss of tuition revenue.

Bantz says APU would like to grow, but emphasizes that the University intends to keep class sizes small.

Tuition at University of Alaska Anchorage is much cheaper, at around $4,000 for Alaska residents and around $14,000 for out-of-state students. Alaska Pacific University is four-year liberal arts college with around 600 students. The secular university, which is affiliated with the Methodist church, opened it’s doors in 1960. It offers two-year, four-year, master’s and doctorate level programs. The tuition cut only applies to undergraduate tuition. In-state and out-of-state tuition are the same at APU. The tuition cut goes into effect at the beginning of the 2014 school year.

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Daysha Eaton is a contributor with the Alaska Public Radio Network. Daysha Eaton holds a B.A. from Evergreen State College, and a M.A. from the University of Southern California. Daysha got her start in radio at Seattle public radio stations, KPLU and KUOW. Before coming to KBBI, she was the News Director at KYUK in Bethel. She has also worked as the Southcentral Reporter for KSKA in Anchorage. Daysha's work has appeared on NPR's "Morning Edition" and "All Things Considered", PRI's "The World" and "National Native News". She's happy to take assignments, and to get news tips, which are best sent via email. Daysha became a journalist because she believes in the power of storytelling. Stories connect us and they help us make sense of our world. They shed light on injustice and they comfort us in troubled times. She got into public broadcasting because it seems to fulfill the intention of the 4th Estate and to most effectively apply the freedom of the press granted to us through the Constitution. She feels that public radio has a special way of moving people emotionally through sound, taking them to remote places, introducing them to people they would not otherwise meet and compelling them to think about issues they might ordinarily overlook.