GW’s Board of Trustees will vote Friday on a University proposal to increase tuition and fees 4.6 percent for returning undergraduates.
If the Board approves the University’s recommended increase for fiscal year 2000, it will be the lowest tuition increase in 11 years.
Administrators shared their proposed budget with student leaders at a meeting Wednesday, the result of several years of student advocacy for more say in the budgetary process.
In the past several years, the University has agreed to discuss its proposed budget with students before presenting the numbers to the Board of Trustees for a vote.
Adminstrators proposed that tuition and fees for entering undergraduates increase 7 percent, up from 5.9 percent last year. The increase would put tuition for new undergraduates at $24,215. Undergraduates who entered the University before fall 1998 would pay $23,375, and students who entered last fall would pay $23,655.
The proposal also includes a 3 percent increase in tuition for graduate students, a 4.3 percent increase for continuing law students and a 6.6 percent increase for new law students.
Also included in the proposed budget is a $16.5 million increase in expenditures. If the Board of Trustees approves the budget Friday, the tuition increase will earn GW $11.1 million. But if the increased expenditures go through, the University will need an additional $5.4 million to cover its expenses.
The additional expenditures include classroom and laboratory renovations, increases in the Student Association and Program Board budgets, and incentives to increase graduate enrollment.
Funding for technology initiatives could increase a total of $2.8 million, money that would be earmarked to wire the remaining residence halls and to ensure that the University is Y2K compliant.
Vice President for Administrative and Information Services Walter Bortz told students leaders that additional support is necessary as the University attempts to move ahead.
Financial aid is projected to increase $2.8 million, which administrators say will cover the 4.6 percent increase in tuition, if it passes.
Student leaders expressed concern about such issues as the completion of the Marvin Center renovations and mid-campus quad construction, GW and Mount Vernon libraries, and the student housing crunch.
Administrators said work on the Marvin Center has been slower than expected, but they have been working to get it back on schedule. The mid-campus quad will be complete by the time students return in the fall, administrators said.
University Librarian Jack Siggins said renovations to Gelman Library are almost complete.
“Construction on the seventh floor has been completed and the sixth floor is scheduled to be done in the middle of April,” Siggins said.
Siggins said plans are in the works to improve Mount Vernon’s library, which students said is not up to par.
President Stephen Joel Trachtenberg said it will be a “process” to get Mount Vernon to a level of which all are proud.
“There simply isn’t enough money printed to do it all,” Trachtenberg said. “We have to do it all in stride.”
Student leaders said they were pleased with Wednesday’s meeting.
SA Executive Vice President Jesse Strauss said he found the budget process to be a low-key event this year.
“To everyone’s credit, the process was low-key, the students seemed uninterested and the administration had no bombs to plant,” Strauss said.
However, Strauss expressed concern about the hefty increase for incoming students.
“I think this whole opportunity for student leaders to openly discuss the budget with the administration helps both the Student Association and the administration,” SA President Carrie Potter said.
Potter said the meeting helps the SA inform the student body about how their tuition money is spent and helps administrators gauge student opinion before they present the budget to the Board of Trustees.
“Nobody likes to see the bill go up,” Trachtenberg said at the close of the meeting. “We have a plan and while it might not be right, it is professional.”