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The story is far from new for UR students — in fact, tuition hikes have become something of a yearly tradition at the University. The latest in this line of increases, which will take effect in the 2011-2012 academic year, is to the tune of 4 percent, resulting in a jump in tuition cost from $39,480 to $41,040 for all students in the College of Arts and Sciences and freshman and sophomores at the Eastman School of Music.
The costs of room and board are also set to increase, driving the total cost of attendance up 4 percent, to $53,160, ranking UR among the nation’s most expensive colleges.
Tuition increases will also extend to UR’s graduate programs: a 4.1 percent increase for the School of Medicine and Dentistry, a 3.9 percent increase for the Warner Graduate School of Education and Human Development, a 4 percent hike for the three-semester accelerated program and the School of Nursing and a 5 percent increase at the Simon Graduate School of Business Administration are all forthcoming.
These changes may not seem terribly drastic, but, when viewed holistically, the trend of tuition increases over the last decade is dramatic. During this time, tuition has swelled by at least 4 and as much as 8.1 percent each year, resulting in a total tuition increase of over $15,000 — in the 2002-2003 year, tuition was a relatively paltry $25,430.
However, according to UR Chief Financial Officer Ronald Paprocki, the trend may be beginning to slow.
“Over the past several years, the annual rate of tuition increase has moderated,” Paprocki said, referring to the fact that the increases have been on the lower end of the spectrum (around 4 percent) during this time. “The objective of the college is not to make a profit, but to provide the best possible education for the student.”
Still, the fact remains that, as the cost of tuition continues to rise, the amount of money attached to these percentages increases as well.
Students trying to pay off a college education won’t be left high and dry, though — they will be aided by another 4 percent increase, this one to Financial Aid funding. Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid Jonathan Burdick noted that this additional funding will help offset the tuition hike for all students who receive financial aid, as no group will receive a priority claim to it.
Burdick emphasized that, every time tuition is raised, the estimated need for financial aid is also assessed, and funding is allotted accordingly. In 2009 for instance, when the impact of the economic recession was at its peak, financial aid funding increased by a significantly greater percentage than tuition.
“In no year since I arrived here in 2003 has the University’s commitment to increasing aid for current undergraduates been less than the tuition increase,” he said.
Some of the key factors assessed by the University in determining changing tuition costs are the operating costs of maintaining current faculty, staff, infrastructure and the costs of enhancements to programs and facilities. Some groups and individuals on campus have raised the question of why the University’s sizeable endowment couldn’t be used in place of tuition increases to meet these goals, but, according to Paprocki, the University is restricted in what it can do with its endowment.
“We must honor the donors’ intent that the endowments provide support in perpetuity,” he said. “So, there are limits to what can be responsibly drawn each year.”
Paprocki did note, however, that raising endowed scholarship funds is one of the main priorities in the design of the University’s upcoming capital campaign, which may serve to lessen the impact of future tuition increases.
Fleming is a member of
the class of 2013.

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