Officials expect tuition increase

University President Stephen Joel Trachtenberg will announce next year’s proposed tuition increase and budget at a student leaders meeting Thursday before presenting it to the Board of Trustees Friday.

The Board of Trustees, a GW governing body comprised of 37 members who approve University policy, must approve the proposal.

Trachtenberg said students should expect an increase, which will be as “normative as possible” with “no grand surprises,” but declined to release specific details before the meeting.

“(Is there) going to be a raise? Do lions eat meat?” he said.

Last year the University saw a 4.9 percent increase, raising tuition and fees to $27,820. If GW sees the same raise as last year, tuition and fees will total $29,183.

The average tuition for a four-year private university is $18,273, according to the College Board. GW’s total package, including room and board, with a 4.9 increase would be $38,293 for next year.

Multicultural organization and Student Association leaders, Hatchet editors and other campus leaders are invited to the meeting to get an update on University initiatives for 2003-2004. Several administrators, including Trachtenberg and Robert Chernak, senior vice president for student and academic support services, are also set to attend.

The Board of Trustees meeting is set for 2 p.m. Friday in the Marvin Center Grand Ballroom.

The Hatchet was unable to speak with Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs Donald Lehman about the University’s priorities for next year, but other officials said the country’s recession will have little effect on University spending.

“We’re not curtailing any major plans; we’re just going to have to be prudent,” said Vice President and Treasurer Louis Katz. “We’re going to continue to build new housing facilities and new academic buildings. We’re constantly improving this institution.”

Katz said GW would take the effect of the economy into account concerning students’ family situations when deciding how much tuition will be increase.

Columbian College of Arts and Sciences Dean William Frawley said that GW is well prepared to face economic challenges and that administrators are working together to formulate a long-term plan.

Frawley said no budget cutbacks for specific CCAS departments should be expected, and GW will continue to pursue its goal of advancing academics on campus.

“We don’t want a Band-Aid solution,” Frawley said. “We want to advance our goals by continuing to invest in academics.”

The University is currently developing the academic excellence component of a three- to five-year strategic plan to “retain (GW’s) momentum and continue our move into the ranks of the top-tier institutions,” said Trachtenberg at a 2001 Board of Trustees meeting.

Major components include a new writing program for freshmen and critically studying and possibly changing graduate studies and seven academic programs.

SA President Phil Robinson, who will attend Thursday’s meeting, said he “sat down and went over the numbers” with Associate Vice President for Budget Donald Boselovic about six weeks ago.

Robinson also met with officials to discuss more funding for the University Police and 4-RIDE, and the administration “seemed open to the prospect of more money for UPD.”

Robinson is also advocating more funds for the library and technology.

“Any time I see an issue and we start fighting, I go (to administrators) and say we’d like more money there,” Robinson said. “That’s where we start to see improvement.”

Though upcoming spending will not be affected by the country’s economic situation, Katz said the University reduced endowment spending by $5 million this past year because of a $66 million loss in endowment value.

He said the University originally took out $35 million from the endowment for spending for the 2002 fiscal year but readjusted the number to $30 million.

Katz also said the University was less affected by a loss in endowment because GW is a tuition-based institution.

GW’s endowment stood at $646 million as of June 2002.

“We’ve always had to do better with less resources, so when times are tough, the impact on the GW is lesser than at other universities,” Katz said.

Trachtenberg called this a “challenging time because friends of the University whose private finances have been impacted are reluctant to open their checkbooks and wallets.”
-Kate Stepan contributed to this report.

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