April 1, 2011

Tuition hikes announced

The U of C experience may cost more next year, but thanks to increased financial aid students might not have to dig too deep into their own pockets.

College tuition will rise 4.1 percent next year, but a 15-percent boost in financial aid spending will help make the University affordable, according to University spokesman Steve Kloehn.

Tuition for the 2011–­­­­­­­­­­­12 academic year will be $41,853, an increase of about $2,000 from last year. Room, board and other fees will jump by the same percentage, bringing the total cost of a year’s worth of U of C education to $55,416.

The University also announced an $88-million budget for undergraduate need and merit-based financial aid for 2011-12, an increase from the $76 million last year.

“The size of the increase this year does reflect the fact that student aid is a top priority at the University,” Kloehn said. “The University has made a significant commitment during this decade to increase the amount of spending on financial aid.”

About 60 percent of undergraduates receive some type of financial aid from the University, with 50 percent receiving need-based aid in the 2010–11 school year, according to a March 23 press release. The average amount of grant assistance from all sources per aid-receiving student was $34,650.

Spending on financial aid grew 13 percent during the 2009–10 school year and was projected to increase by another 4.5 percent or more during 2010–11, according to University statements released by the News Office last year.

Some of the increased financial aid budget will target funding the Odyssey Scholarships, a program for students with family incomes less than $75,000. The program benefits 1,100 University students, aiding almost 20 percent of the current first-year class.

“Exceptional students of all backgrounds and all income levels aspire to attend the College,” said Vice President and Dean of College Admissions and Financial Aid Jim Nondorf in the March 23 press release. “This year’s increase in financial aid spending means that we can continue to offer them the widest possible access to a Chicago education.”

The tuition hike is comparable to the annual increases of the past decade—during which time the University has typically raised costs by just under 5 percent—and nearly identical to last year’s 4.2 percent climb.

Still, the increase helps maintain the U of C’s spot among the nation’s most expensive schools, and outpaces the tuition increases announced by several peer institutions. Harvard increased its undergraduate tuition and fees by 3.8 percent and, north of the Loop, Northwestern added 4.6 percent to its tuition and fees.