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Enrollment Rises at Rosemont After Big Tuition Cut

The small Catholic college on the Main Line last September announced it would cut tuition and knock an additional $1,900 off room and board in a bid to attract families scared away by college costs that had topped $46,000.

It worked on the Moraschi family, of Marlton.

Rosemont's new $30,000 price tag wasn't much more than that of Pennsylvania State University or Temple University.

"That definitely put Rosemont on the radar," said Mary Beth Moraschi, mother of the now-freshman at Rosemont.

To be clear, students saved nowhere near $16,000 under Rosemont's new pricing structure. Rosemont, like many similar colleges, doled out so much financial aid in the past that few students paid close to the sticker price. It's called discounting. So, along with its tuition cut, Rosemont also lowered its financial aid awards.

As a result, students saved on average $815.

But Rosemont's effort was about more than saving students a little bit of money. It was about sending a message to the next generation of students that a private college, like Rosemont, is within their financial reach.

Rosemont president Sharon Hirsh said she was particularly pleased that the percentage of students from families with incomes between $75,000 and $125,000 - who don't qualify for federal or state grants and may feel they can't afford a higher sticker price - increased by 13 students or 62 percent. The Moraschi family was among that group.

"We thought that would be a whole new public for us, and we were right," Hirsh said.

Applications soared 64 percent, from 863 to 1,412, as news of the tuition cut got local and national media coverage, Hirsh said. As a result, traditional undergraduate enrollment including freshmen and transfers rose nearly 15 percent, from 446 students to 512, she said. That includes a 31 percent increase in freshmen.

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