July 1, 2020

Good evening,

We have received significant feedback about today’s release of
Spelman College: A Plan for the 2020-2021 Academic Year.

We are hearing that some students have heard that those who study online will have to pay $44,309 in tuition. This information is incorrect. We take this opportunity to clarify what a 10% discount to tuition and 40% discount to mandatory fees will mean for a fully online student who would have been residential during the Academic Year 2020-2021.

As the chart below illustrates, the savings for sophomores and juniors who may have resided on campus is more than $18,000 for the year.

For those students who would have been living on campus, the savings incorporate the reduction in fees from room and board ($14,338), as well as the 10% discount in tuition ($2,594) and 40% reduction in fees ($1,611) for a total of $18,543 in savings. This makes the total amount paid to Spelman for sophomores and juniors who may have lived on campus during the Academic Year 2020-2021 $25,765 dollars instead of $44,309.

The savings for seniors, who would pay half of the annual room and board fee ($7,169) if they have the option to choose to live on campus for the second semester, is $11,374 for an annual cost of $32,934 instead of $44,309.

Also, unlike in previous years, for Academic Year 2020-2021, Spelman did not raise tuition. Freezing tuition is a savings of 3% ($778), so the total savings is actually more than $19,000 for sophomores and juniors. Any financial aid would increase the savings further.

Although Spelman would love to be able to offer a deeper discount, it is important that the College take steps to remain fiscally stable, while offering the same standard of programming to which you are accustomed.

With a significantly reduced population on campus, the College will suffer a significant loss in room and board revenue. Although Spelman has taken many steps to reduce expenses - including furloughs of all employees (including leadership) - we must continue to deliver the excellent programming that students deserve, as well as be good stewards of the institution’s financial health so Spelman can continue to operate not only today, but for generations to come.

We understand that the news of most Spelman students learning remotely for 2020-2021 is not what many of you wanted to hear and that your Spelman experience will not be what you envisioned for the next semester and possibly the next year. The College’s decision was based in prioritizing the health and safety of our community, which is overwhelmingly African American, meaning that we are more prone to being hospitalized for, and dying from COVID-19.

Our decision was grounded in months of analyzing data, the outcomes of the decisions of other institutions, and the daily changing guidance from organizations like the Centers for Disease and Prevention and the Georgia Department of Health.

With the COVID-19 rates rising rapidly in more than two-thirds of the states in the country, Georgia’s Governor Kemp extending the state of emergency through August 11, and a host of other concerning data points, we needed for our plan to first and foremost keep our community safe.

We hope this breakdown of tuition savings and information about how we came to our decision is helpful.


Dawn Alston
CFO & Vice President for Business & Financial Affairs


Spelman College
350 Spelman Lane
Atlanta, GA 30314

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