Board raises tuition 3.9 percent

The GW Board of Trustees voted Friday to raise tuition for the 2006-2007 academic year, in the lowest percentage increase in more than two decades. Although the percentage increase may be small historically, it will still make GW one of the most expensive schools in the country next year.

At its winter meeting Friday in 1957 E Street, the Board of Trustees raised tuition for undergraduate students by 3.9 percent. The change will apply to the incoming freshman class and transfer students, who will be paying $37,790 as part of a fixed-tuition plan.

Students in the class of 2007, the last undergraduate class to remain on the traditional tuition plan, will each pay $33,590 in tuition next year – also an increase of 3.9 percent. GW has raised the tuition every year since at least 1990.

University President Stephen Joel Trachtenberg said it is important to recognize that the increase was modest.

“We conscientiously made this figure,” Trachtenberg told The Hatcher after Friday’s board meeting.

Last year the 35-member body board raised tuition by 5 percent.

A 1.7 increase in the cost of housing was also announced at the meeting. Next year all GW students will be paying in excess of $40,000 to attend the University, with inclusion of housing and food allowance.

Trachtenberg attributed the relatively low tuition increase to the growth of the University’s endowment, which consists of gifts to the University from individual, corporate and non-profit donors and is mostly invested in financial markets. The endowment grew by 12.2 percent to an all-time high of $823 million from June 2004 to June 2005.

Each year the University yields a percentage of the endowment for funding of University programs. Last year the endowment yield was about 4.2 percent, but the board approved a plan that would allow the University to take out 5 percent of the endowment in fiscal year 2007, Trachtenberg said.

Trachtenberg said the increased money the University will receive from the endowment will be put toward increased fundraising efforts and more aggressive investing.

At a Faculty Senate meeting earlier this month, Executive Vice President and Treasurer Louis Katz said about $1 million from the increased endowment yield would be allocated to bolster fundraising efforts, and the remaining sum, about $3.3 million, would be used to help schools implement the University’s Strategic Plan goals. The Strategic Plan is GW’s initiative to strengthen the school and make it a preeminent urban research university.

Trachtenberg said at the Faculty Senate meeting that his goal is for the University’s endowment grow to $1 billion, a figure that about 56 schools have reached. An endowment of $1 billion would allow the University to make riskier investments that have the potential to yield greater rewards, Trachtenberg said at the time.

“The state of the University gives us a lot more that we can talk to our beneficiaries about,” Trachtenberg said after the board meeting.

At the next board meeting in May, the University’s highest oversight body will take action on next year’s budget. Trachtenberg said the 2007 budget, which is only in a draft stage right now, is currently running a deficit; but over the next three months the University will be reviewing ways to increase income and cut costs in some areas.

-Ryan Holeywell contributed to this report.

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