After decade of sharp growth, tuition increase slows

Mo' tuition, Mo' problems | Written by Leah Askarinam and Erick Garcia

By Tulane Hullabaloo | Section: Jan 29th, 2010 Issues, January 29th 2010 Print, Lead Story, News

After about a decade of increasing tuition by a factor of at least 4 percent, Tulane will increase next year’s tuition by about 3 percent.

Tuition for the 2009 - 10 academic year cost $37,200, and room and board cost $9,606. Tuition will rise by 2.96 percent for the 2010 - 11 academic year. Including room and board, the cost will increase by 3.14 percent.

Tulane will be able to function with a small increase in tuition because of decreases in financial aid and scholarship money next year, and because of growth in enrollment.

“They put together a budget every year, and then they look at what it’s going to take to hit that budget with all the estimates of how many students will be paying,” Associated Student Body President Tim Clinton said.

First-year students with financial need received an average of $34,537 during the 2009 - 10 academic year.

“Tulane has long been among the top universities in the country in terms of the financial aid it offers to its students,” said Tony Lorino, senior vice president for operations and chief financial officer.

Though by a smaller factor, tuition will still continue to rise.

“Post-Katrina, the university has experienced annual operating losses which, unfortunately, must be offset with an increase in revenue,” Lorino said.

The current economic situation also motivated Tulane to increase tuition by a smaller factor.

“They recognize that we still need this money, but realize that everyone else is also crunched,” Undergraduate Student Government President Donald “Ratchet” Leverson said.

Leverson said that he thinks the increment by which tuition will increase next year is fair.

“The way they presented the budget is, ‘We’re doing what we need to do to get by, and this is what we need to function at the university,’ ” he said.

Leverson said that the increase in tuition was necessary because of the massive revenue that tuition brings to Tulane.

“There’s an increase in general because tuition is the biggest money maker, and right now, the university needs money,” Leverson said.

Clinton also said that the increment by which tuition will increase next year seems appropriate. He said that private institutions are increasing tuition at similar rates, while public institutions are generally increasing tuition at much higher rates.

“In the past 10 years, it [Tulane’s tuition] hasn’t increased below 4 percent at all,” Clinton said. “It’s been about 4 or 5 percent.”

Though some students have complained that less funding should go to campus construction projects, Lorino said that they do not influence tuition.

“Major construction is funded by gifts or bond issues, not tuition,” Lorino said.

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