How We Price Differently

The truthful alternative

Parents and students are becoming increasingly concerned about the cost and long-term value of a college education. We understand that concern. Grove City is unique among colleges and universities in that we are committed to dealing truthfully in our pricing and scholarship offerings, avoiding the deceptive and harmful practice of tuition discounting. (Proverbs 11:1).

Deceptive discounting

Discounting is a pricing scheme used by nearly every private college to manipulate the price of tuition in a manner that results in students unwittingly funding their classmates’ scholarships. Moreover, discounts are a financial smokescreen that can mask inferior or mediocre student outcomes (e.g. four-year graduation rate, job and graduate school placement rate, alumni earnings, time to pay off student loans, etc.), leading students away from better long-term opportunities.

Why do colleges do this?

Two reasons: first, so that they can use parents and students as their source of scholarship funding. Second, so they can offer nearly every student a scholarship, creating a false perception of reward and appreciation. This is how schools can claim that nearly 100% of their students receive scholarships. Plain and simple, this is a deceptive practice that benefits the school over the student.

How does it work?

Most colleges have excessive price tags by design, which is the foundation of the discounting framework. Like stores putting on a sale, colleges simply inflate the cost of tuition significantly beyond the actual non-profit, breakeven cost. Then, colleges lower the price of tuition by offering a discount euphemistically called a scholarship, which is similar to a sale coupon.

Buyer beware

This is where parents and students need to be wary. Every discounting college has an average discount. Students who receive a discount lower than the average actually help pay for larger-than-average discounts offered to other students. Colleges fund the bulk of scholarship aid by transferring money from one family to another.

Committed to true value

Grove City sets its tuition at what it actually costs to educate a student. Our initial price is low. From there we offer need-based and merit-based aid from our own endowment and donor gifts. We never transfer money surreptitiously from one family to another. No student pays for another.

In an age of overpriced education and deceptive discounts, the true value of a Grove City College education is evidenced in our impressive career outcomes measured by high retention, graduation, and placement rates, as well as professional achievement and high alumni earnings ranked in the top 13% nationally.

We invite you to apply for financial aid and scholarships, and we urge you to look beyond the discounts to discover the real value of an honestly priced education.

Apply for Financial Aid & Scholarships 


Guest author Lee Wishing, III is 1983 graduate of Grove City College. Lee joined the College’s staff in 1994 and served as director of college relations and helped to found the college’s think tank, The Center for Vision & Values, before being appointed vice president for student recruitment. He married a Grove City alumna and his four children are Grovers as well.


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