GW trustees approve 4.9% tuition increase

GW’s Board of Trustees approved a 4.9 percent tuition hike Friday, raising tuition and fees to $27,820. The majority of the extra money will pay back facilities debts and staff pay raises.

When added to room and board, the GW pricetag is now $36,930 for incoming freshmen and sophomores and is set to top $40,000 in two years at the current rate.

With a 23 percent tuition jump coupled with a 20 percent increase in room and board in the past five years, the incoming freshmen class will pay almost $7,000 more than members of the class of 2002 did when they arrived at GW.

GW will cost more than Cornell and Yale universities and the University of Chicago for the second year in a row.

Tuition accounts for about 73 percent of the University’s revenue, according to the Office of the Vice President and Treasurer’s 2003 budget. Officials said at a student leaders meeting Wednesday that GW needs to raise tuition while it works at increasing alumni giving and its endowment.

This year’s boost breaks with a 13-year trend of declining tuition hikes and is the highest increase in four years. GW raised tuition 4.4 percent last year.

The tuition increase is expected to pour more than $19 million into the University budget. GW plans to increase spending by $36 million.

Almost half of the budget increase is set aside for facilities and debt repayment, while another 20 percent will go to professor and administrative staff increases.

About $6 million will be allocated for faculty and staff raises, one million more than last year. The raise will boost professors pay checks by almost 4 percent, said Don Boselovic, GW assistant vice president for finance.

Financial aid will also receive its greatest boost in three years with another $10 million to hand out to students.

Student Financial Assistance Director Dan Small said Wednesday that students who already receive aid will see the bulk of the increase as the University raises its maximum grant $21,000 to $23,000.

Boselovic said the University normally sets aside a portion of every tuition increase for financial aid.

“(Financial aid) has to go up in parallel with tuition,” he said. “We are focussing more money on financial aid than we would have normally done in the past with this year’s increase.”

GW technology is another big winner of this year’s budget increase, with a $3 million boost compared to about $600,000 last year.

Officials at the Board of Trustees meeting Friday said GW trails leading schools in technology in classrooms although technology administrators cited the University’s listing as one of Yahoo’s 100 “Most Wired Campuses” as a breakthrough after years of work.

GW Chief Information Officer Dave Swartz said GW is seeking to finish wiring residence halls and is in the process of upgrading modems in already-wired halls.

“About 95 percent of residence halls are wired, and we have begun to upgrade some residence halls from 10 to 100 megabits,” Swartz said.

He also said GW hopes to place more computers in labs around campus and upgrade classrooms to make more than half of rooms “high-tech,” like those in the Media and Public Affairs Building. Swartz said only 15 percent of classes are currently “high tech.”

Swartz said students will soon see gradual changes at Gelman Library and eventually other buildings as the University begins to install a wireless system allowing students to go online without being hooked into an outlet.

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