The Board of Trustees approved a 4.5 percent increase in tuition and fees for next year Friday, bringing student bills to $29,072. Incoming students will pay $29,350, a 5.5 percent increase over last year.
With room and food costs, GW will send home a $39,110 bill to returning students next year, while incoming freshmen will cough up an extra $280 for a total charge of $39,390 to attend GW.
Graduate and returning medical students will each see a 3 percent tuition increase, while law students are facing a 5.3 percent increase.
“Everyone always worries about tuition increases,” University President Stephen Joel Trachtenberg said after the meeting. “Nobody likes it, but it’s a necessary evil.”
Trachtenberg and other administrators presented GW’s priorities for next year’s budget to student leaders Thursday afternoon before Friday’s meeting with the trustees. Increases the administration proposed to the board, a governing body comprised of 37 members who approve University policy, included $13 million for financial aid, $350,000 for the Gelman Library collections and other costs and about $750,000 toward student life initiatives.
Vice President for Academic Affairs Donald Lehman told trustees Friday the University hopes to focus on improving undergraduate programs because they are GW’s “main source of revenue.” He said goals include building the University’s reputation and “uniquely position(ing) GW in the academic market place.”
Vice President and Treasurer Louis Katz called the financial aid increase, which brings the total aid the University provides to almost $110 million, an “all-time high.”
Academic priorities, which total $1.9 million, include new funding for initiatives in the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences, Elliott School of International Affairs, School of Business and Public Management and School of Engineering and Applied Sciences.
This includes two new faculty positions each in the ESIA and SBPM, funds for increasing engineering school enrollment and raising graduate student teaching stipends in all schools to at least $15,000, Lehman said. He also announced two new living and learning communities proposed for the Mount Vernon campus.
Junior Graham Murphy, president of the Out Crowd, presented the panel of administrators at Thursday’s meeting with 1,000 student signatures on a petition to increase financial aid proportionately to tuition.
“Why would anyone in their right mind not sign that petition?” Trachtenberg said, drawing laughs from the vice presidents, deans and other campus officials at the table. “It’s a no-brainer.”
He went on to explain the faculty and student demands and an intention to improve the University deem an annual increase necessary.
Trachtenberg explained the difference in increases for new and returning students.
“You’re here, you know tuition was going to go up,” he said, adding that GW tries to accommodate the needs of its continuing students hit with yearly increases. “We have no understanding (with the new students).”
While some students said they believe GW is too expensive, others said they understand the need for tuition hikes.
“As long as the tuition increase goes somewhere, like to make classes smaller or to get more teachers, then great,” senior Nathan Hatch said. “But the money should go to making this a better school.”
Freshman Dena Bruss said tuition should be capped to prevent students from being priced out of their education.
“The price at the end is not what you signed up for at the beginning,” she said.
-Alex Kingsbury and Mosheh Oinounou contributed to this report.