AREA COLLEGE LOWERS TUITION

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Seton Hall University, South Orange, NJ http://www.shu.edu/

Tuition and fees cut: roughly $21,000 for incoming high achieving freshmen

Tuition and fees in 2012-13: $10,104 (down from roughly $31,000)

To attract high-achieving students away from public colleges, New Jersey-based Seton Hall University has decided to offer the same tuition costs as RUTGERS state's largest public college. The result is a 61% discount on Seton Hall tuition that equals more than $21,000 in savings for the upcoming academic year. The discount is strictly for incoming freshmen with top grades and SAT scores.

A key part of a Catholic mission is community service. SHU believes that getting involved in the community teaches lessons that can't be taught in any classroom. All students complete at least 10 hours of community service during their first semester. Getting your hands dirty planting a garden with local school children, launching attention-getting public relations campaigns for nonprofit organizations or sponsoring a "senior prom" at a senior center are just a few ways to help others, build character and make new friends - all while gaining valuable real-world experience that will stand out on your resume.

The free financial aid the school gives out will remain unchanged at about $62 million a year. Room and board, which costs about $11,000 a year, will rise between 1% and 5% though the exact amount hasn't been determined yet, she says. Fees that are currently around $1,500 will rise by a similar amount, though unlike most schools they include free laptops for each student that get replaced with new ones after two years.