Students visiting Todd Union to get their mail after spring break found a familiar letter this week from UR President Thomas Jackson announcing tuition and room and board increases for the 2003-2004 academic year. Total costs for students attending The College or the School of Nursing will increase by approximately $1,500, making the final bill for an on-campus student close to $36,000.
It will be an overall increase of 5.1 percent over last year’s bill.
“These are difficult economic times for universities as well as families,” Jackson wrote in the letter. “All institutions are responding in different ways to the economic challenges. Our own cost-cutting measures have been significant, but we have focused our economizing on areas apart from instructional programs and direct support services for our students.”
“At the same time,” Jackson continued, “in order to avoid a harmful effect on the core of the College’s mission and the general quality of the educational experience, we — like many of our peers — find it necessary to set tuition and term bill increases above five percent. This, in our view, is the preferable course of action. In 2003-04, our tuition and fees will continue to be below those of most comparable universities.”
New York University, ranked 35, one spot ahead of UR in the U.S. News and Report college rankings, estimates a final cost of $37,076 for a year of instruction next year — Case Western Reserve University, ranked 37, one spot behind UR in the same rankings, plans on charging $31,360. A year at Harvard University will cost around $36,000.
The increasing cost of higher education since 1990 has been staggering, with UR’s price almost doubling since 1990, when tuition came in at $14,210
Tuition costs for schools within the university are climbing by comparable amounts for next year. A full year of instruction at the Eastman School of Music will cost $23,800 — a 4.4 percent increase. Graduate students at the William E. Simon School of Business Administration will see tuition climb to $32,100, a 5.9 percent increase from this year’s bill. Medical students at the School of Medicine and Dentistry with pay $31,500, a 4 percent increase and for students at the Margaret Warner Graduate School of Education and Human Development, the bill will total $26,900, a 5.8 percent increase.
Figures at these schools do not include the additional living costs, including room, board and other fees.
Vice President for Administration and Finance Ronald Paprocki explained that while it might appear that costs are increasing at a rate greater than inflation, he cautioned that traditional inflation figures don’t adequately capture all of the economic forces acting about university budgets.
“There is a great deal of emphasis placed upon maintaining the quality of our programs, and that means attracting and maintaining excellent faculty and staff members, developing new programs, maintaining and upgrading facilities, and keeping current with technology,” he said.Paprocki said that the university has been implementing a variety of cost control strategies by implementing energy-use control programs, refinancing debt, restructuring employee benefits and by purchasing items at the lowest possible cost.
He estimates that last year the university saved $15 million by efficient buying strategies.
Students have responded with concern to the increase. Sophomore Hisham Rifaey said that one of the most important factors in deciding a college was aid.
“I knew I could only afford a certain amount, and after scholarships and various financial aid I am receiving, was a good option for me,” he said. “However, as the tuition increases approximately five to six percent each year I am here, they put me more in debt each year, which I didn’t originally agree to when I decided to attend college here.”
Hisham thinks UR should implement a tuition cap, as other schools around the country have done, which means the tuition you pay entering college is the same tuition price until you graduate.
Sophomore Niki Reitz said the college should make changes to the financial aid structure when changing the cost of tuition. “I definitely think that financial aid should increase proportionally to tuition,” she said.Additional reporting by Aaron Severs.
Hildebrandt can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.