You've probably heard of the oldest college in the United States, Harvard University. But you may not have heard of the third-oldest, St. John's College.
Founded in 1696, St. John's is a private liberal arts college with a emphasis on classical philosophy and literature. The school has two campuses, one in Annapolis, Maryland and one in Santa Fe, New Mexico, which enroll a total of 896 graduate and undergraduate students. All classes are taught seminar-style, and students do not have majors.
Last week, St. John's announced it would be slashing its tuition for the 2019 - 2020 school year by roughly 33 percent, from $52,000 to $35,000.
"'Prestige pricing' is the belief that families equate a high price with high quality," Mark Roosevelt, president of St. John's College (SJC) tells CNBC Make It. "But the reality is most students can't begin to afford these ridiculously high prices and colleges are already offering vast discounts to make the tuition even close to accessible, often before ever knowing a student's financial circumstances.
"This creates a cycle of increasing tuition prices and subsequent increasing discounts given behind closed doors, where colleges find themselves in a pricing trap from which there seems to be no escape, and neither the college nor the student benefits."
He notes that over the past two decades, the "sticker price" of attending St. John's rose 163 percent.