Mills Takes Major Step to Address Growing Issue of College Affordability

Mills Unveils Tuition Reset, Reducing Tuition by 36 Percent

Oakland, CA—September 15, 2017

Mills College today announced that it will implement a tuition reset, reducing its base undergraduate tuition amount from $44,765 to $28,765—representing a 36 percent reduction and rolling back Mills tuition to 2005 rates. The move is in response to the rising cost of a college education and the barriers it creates for students and their families. Mills is the first private college in California to take this bold step.

Mills College President Elizabeth L. Hillman made the announcement at this morning’s Convocation ceremony. The event marked the formal beginning of the new academic year at Mills with a keynote address by Ashara Ekundayo who underscored the importance of access and affordability in higher education.

Mills Breaks Barriers to a College Education

According to a study conducted by student loan company Sallie Mae, American families unanimously agree that a college education is an important investment in the future, yet seven out of 10 families eliminate colleges from consideration during their search and selection process due to cost concerns. Costs weigh especially heavily on women and students of color: A study published by the American Association of University Women in 2017 revealed that women, especially women of color, take on more student loan debt and pay it back more slowly than men, in part because they earn less than men after they graduate.

“A college education seems even less accessible to students today than it did twenty years ago,” said Mills College President Elizabeth L. Hillman. “We need to change that. Mills’ tuition reset places us in the vanguard of colleges taking steps to clarify the cost of a degree and let the public know we hear their concerns. Our tuition reduction takes aim at the price barrier that separates students from the transformative education they can find at small, private colleges like Mills.”

The tuition reset takes effect at the start of the 2018 fall semester. All new and returning undergraduate students will see their tuition cost lowered to $28,765 before any federal, state, or Mills financial aid is applied. Students receiving financial aid will see adjustments to compensate for the tuition reduction, but all will see their bottom-line tuition costs reduced. Any annual tuition increases in subsequent years will be set from the lower base tuition rate, so the tuition increases are smaller, resulting in actual savings to all enrolled students.

Mills College is a 165-year-old liberal arts institution that has built an inclusive community of thinkers, scholars, artists, scientists, and innovators. The College has consistently been named one of the top ten master’s universities in the West by U.S. News & World Report and was ranked the #2 Best Value College in the West this year based on its high academic quality relative to the net cost of tuition. The Princeton Review also recognizes Mills as one of The Best 382 Colleges in the nation.

“Mills continues to be highly ranked as a ‘best value’ college based on the exceptional quality of its educational experience and the net cost to attend,” said Mills College Board of Trustees Chair Katie Sanborn ’83. “This tuition reset has no impact on the caliber of our academic offerings. We are simply able to make a Mills education and degree accessible to more students than ever before.”

“College costs have become so complex and confusing for the average family,” said Mills College Provost and Dean of the Faculty Chinyere Oparah. “This tuition reset will signal to families what the actual cost of an education at Mills is, that it’s affordable, and that we want your student here.”

As a leading private liberal arts college committed to providing a high-quality 21st century education, Mills focuses its priorities on 1) academic excellence in the arts, sciences, social sciences, humanities, and technology; 2) applied learning, global understanding, and real-world skills development; and 3) academic programs and community engagement grounded in gender and racial justice.

“The world needs a place like Mills, where students with diverse economic backgrounds, racial identities, and gender identities are encouraged to learn and lead,” said Hillman. “This tuition reset will ensure that more students will find a place at Mills and have the opportunity to experience a life-changing education that prepares them to be leaders in their careers and communities.”

Additional information can be found at

About Mills College
Located in Oakland, California, in the heart of the San Francisco Bay Area, Mills College is a nationally renowned independent liberal arts college for women with graduate programs for women and men. Ranked one of the top-tier regional universities in the West by U.S. News & World Report, Mills is also recognized as one of The Best 382 Colleges in the nation by The Princeton Review. Since 1852, we’ve been empowering students to become creative, independent thinkers who take and inspire action. For more information, visit