GW raises tuition about 4.5 percent

GW students will see a modest rise in tuition for the next academic year after the Board of Trustees reaffirmed the lowest tuition increase in 12 years last week.

The 4.5 percent tuition increase will raise more than $19 million in additional revenue, while the 2001 budget will increase expenses by $26 million, said GW President Stephen Joel Trachtenberg.

The immediate need is that the faculty and staff will get raises, Trachtenberg said. That’s always the largest component because we are labor intensive.

Trachtenberg said in addition to the increase in tuition, the budget for student financial aid will increase by almost $7 million, which is 37 percent of the revenue generated from the tuition increase.

While the board increased tuition at a uniform rate, the actual tuition will depend on the year a student entered the University.

According to a University press release, the total yearly tuition/fee for new students who entered the University in fall 1999 will be $25,040. For students who entered the University in fall 1998, the tuition will be $24,720, and students who entered before fall 1998 will pay $24,430.

For most graduate-level programs, tuition will increase 3.3 percent. But the law school will experience an increase of 4.8 percent for next year, which will provide a boost for financial aid. Trachtenberg said the University tries to keep law school tuition in the middle of a 40-school market basket.

Student Association President Caity Leu was pleased with the modest increase.

I think it’s good that tuition is rising at a lower rate, Leu said. But I think students would feel better if they felt they were getting bang for their buck.

Leu cited the Student Budgetary Priority Survey in which nearly 71 percent of students said they felt they were not getting value for their money.

Leu said that while she favored an increase in faculty salaries, the SA believes that GW’s priority should be more academic facilities.

Obviously they’re trying to remedy the lack of facilities by building new buildings, but the buildings take time and more needs to be done for students in the meantime, Leu said.

While Leu said she felt the increased tuition was acceptable, she said the University’s plans for room and board were not acceptable after the University announced its plan to remove housekeeping services two weeks ago.

There’s no justification for an increase in price if they’re taking away services, Leu said.

In addition to increasing funding for financial aid and staff salaries, the additional expenditures also will help pay for new technology and collections in Gelman Library.

The administration is being more accountable of where the increase is being spent, said Mike Petron, chairman of the Marvin Center Governing Board. They’re being very reasonable in trying to keep our tuition in check.

Trachtenberg said nothing would make him happier than if there was no tuition increase, but this year’s rise was necessary.

A month ago, Williams College in Massachusetts announced it would not increase tuition, room and board or other expenses for the 2000-2001 academic year. The tuition freeze is the first of its kind in recent history. The university cited a prosperous financial situation because of a strong stock market.

We are an enterprise with a constantly changing horizon, Trachtenberg said. We can always think of ways to make (the University) better.

Leu said factors such as inflation and owning land make tuition increases inevitable.

Everybody would like tuition not to go up at all, Trachtenberg said. But everybody is realistic that they want high quality.

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