March 7, 2006

Tuition up 5.3 percent for ‘06-‘07

Following a recent meeting, the Board of Trustees has decided on a 5.3 percent increase in undergraduate tuition, room and board, health fees, and student activity costs for the 2006-2007 school year, according to the Chicago Chronicle.

Annual College tuition will increase from $31,629 to $33,336, room and board costs from $10,104 to $10,608, the health fee from $459 to $483, and the student activity fee from $177 to $186.

Both the rate of increase and the tuition amount are in line with peer institutions, according to Judith Friedberg, executive assistant to the vice president for administration and chief finance officer.

Richard Saller, provost of the University, said that the tuition rise will only result in a 2.7 percent increase in revenue for the University, as staff salaries increase by 3 to 4 percent each year, and the cost of utilities and insurance increase even faster.

Friedberg pointed particularly to heating costs as a possible reason for the rising cost of room and board.

Money from students’ tuition goes towards the University’s “operating budget,” Friedberg added, which consists of maintaining and operating campus as well as financial aid and staff salaries.

The 5.3 percent increase in total costs planned for next year is marginally higher than the 5 percent increase of the past three years.

Friedberg said she could not think of an explanation for this change.

Alicia Reyes, director of College Aid, said that financial aid would also increase so that students can keep up with the rising tuition. The increase in financial aid is designed to keep the amount of tuition paid by students constant from year to year and comparable with peer universities, she said.

Reyes added that the Office of College Aid is not yet prepared to release the exact figures of this increase.

Asked if she thought the rising tuition rates would deter prospective students, especially international applicants who are not offered need-blind financial aid, Friedberg said she did not think so.

“I think the appeal of the University is so great that people understand the cost,” she said, citing rising application figures that have made the University more selective.

Saller echoed those sentiments and elaborated on the important implications of the increases for students. “Ultimately we need to raise more endowment to support a higher level of aid,” he said.