What is differential tuition?
Differential tuition is tuition charged to students according to the specific courses they take after they have reached 60 credit hours. Those 60 credits include any AP or IB credits the student transferred from high school coursework. The exception is courses in the College of Business, for which differential tuition is assessed after 30 credit hours. Differential tuition is not assessed for any student who is classified as a freshman.
Many universities assess differential tuition beginning the freshman year. At CSU, we believe that every student needs the flexibility and time to explore possible majors. Again, for most students except those taking College of Business courses, students have two full years before differential tuition is assessed.
Why charge differential tuition and what is it used for?
Differential tuition amounts are charged according to three variables: student demand; cost of instruction; and the job market value of the degree. When student demand is high and the cost of instruction is high (specialized facilities and equipment; need for additional teaching faculty) more pressure is put on the instructional budgets within Colleges. In addition, classes are smaller at the upper division level and thus more expensive to teach. And if the degree from a College has higher earning power (using national data on job placement by discipline), the return on investment for a student is greater.
As a result of the above variables, differential tuitions are charged to bring additional revenues to the Colleges in order to better serve and prepare students. Colleges use these revenues in a variety of ways, but most often to hire additional faculty; improve lab and research facilities; fund career center support; hire additional advisors; increase field and research opportunities; and purchase equipment and innovative technologies that students may use in their future employments. All in all, differential tuition enhances the student learning experience once they are in their major and better prepares them for their next steps. Actual differential tuition charges can be viewed here.