University trustees passed the lowest tuition increase returning undergraduates have seen in 11 years when they voted on the administration’s proposed budget Friday.
The 4.6 percent increase for continuing undergraduates is 0.1 percent lower than last year’s increase and almost 2.5 percent lower than the 6.9 percent increase that raised student ire two years ago.
For the second year in a row, the Board of Trustees decided new undergraduates will pay a higher tuition rate than returning students. But the trustees rejected the administration’s proposed 7 percent hike for incoming freshmen, instead passing a 5.9 percent increase for new students.
The new budget includes a three-tiered tuition arrangement – $23,960 for incoming students, $23,655 for rising sophomores and $23,375 for rising juniors and seniors. The different levels stem from last year’s decision to charge incoming students paying a higher rate of tuition than returning students.
All on-campus students will pay $8,210 for room and board.
The board passed a 4.3 percent increase for continuing law students and a 6.6 percent raise for new law students. Graduate students will see a 3 percent increase, bringing each credit hour to $736.
“The increases approved by the Board (of Trustees) will ensure that GW maintains its position in the top tier of universities nationwide,” GW President Stephen Joel Trachtenberg said in a University press release.
Trachtenberg said GW will continue to funnel funds from the tuition increase into GW’s academic programs and facilities.
The increase in tuition and fees will contribute an additional $11.1 million in revenue to the University’s budget, but total expenditures will increase by $16.5 million, leaving a $5.4 million shortfall for the University to cover with other revenue sources.
Administrators said the University’s endowment, contributions to the Centuries Campaign and an increase in the administration’s efficiency will cover the difference.
The new budget includes increased expenditures for academic programming, student financial aid, technological advances and student support.
Funding for academic programs will increase by more than $7.1 million, including $1.5 million for renovations to classrooms and laboratories.
Student financial aid will increase $2.9 million to nearly $66 million. Administrators said the increase in financial aid will appropriately compensate for the increase in tuition.
Trachtenberg said other projects include construction of the health and wellness center and a new School of Media and Public Affairs building, which will be completed in the fall of 2000.
Student Association President Carrie Potter said students appreciate that the tuition increase is the lowest in 11 years.
“We applaud the budget priorities, including a substantial increase in financial aid and support for the new buildings that will enhance the quality of student life on the GW campus,” Potter said in a release.
Technology spending will increase by $2.8 million, including an increase for campus technology initiatives and funds to ensure that GW is Y2K compliant.
“We are ahead of schedule in our costly technology initiative,” Trachtenberg said.
Increased funding for technology initiatives will include the wiring of Madison, Mitchell and Riverside Towers halls. Vice President of Administrative and Information Services Walter Bortz told student leaders last week that the administration is considering using wireless technology in Riverside because the University lacks a direct computer connection to the building.
Director of University Public Relations Barbara Porter called the Board of Trustees meeting “very productive.”
“We’re pleased that the board came in and did exemplary work,” she said.
1999-2000 Budget at a Glance
Tuition and fees for continuing undergraduates will increase 4.6 percent, the lowest increase in 11 years.
The total cost (tuition, fees, room and board) for continuing undergraduates will increase 3.6 percent, the lowest increase in four years.
GW’s financial aid budget will increase $2.9 million.
An increase of almost $2 million will go into the University’s technology initiative.
The University will put $300,000 toward efforts to improve its retention rate, including the hiring of three professional advisers in the Columbian School and one in the engineering school.
More than $350,000 will go toward improvements and staff increases in the University’s libraries.
All of the revenue from increases in law school students’ tuition will be put back into the law school.
Source: Office of the Vice President and Treasurer
Student Leaders’ Meeting, 2/10/99