Schools surpass $50,000 price tag

Last year GW became the first university in the nation to surpass the $50,000 price tag for tuition and expenses. But a year later, GW has company at the top.

New York University and Carnegie Mellon University are among the colleges who breached $50,000 this spring with their annual tuition increases. Boston University is now just short of that number.

“It’s only a matter of time before more schools enter our range,” University Spokesperson Tracy Schario said, adding that tuition increases are unavoidable in higher education.

The total cost of attendance at NYU for the next school year will be $50,182, according to The Washington Square News, the campus paper. The paper reported in April that the school is “cash poor” and reliant on tuition for 60 percent of its operating budget, whereas other universities have large endowments to keep costs down.

At GW, tuition accounted for 56 percent of the operating budget last year, according to the capital budget.

Ken Walters, a spokesman for Carnegie Mellon, said they are also dependent on tuition to fund the undergraduate curriculum and a host of other school programs.

“We need tuition,” Walters said. “It helps us to grow and expand our university.”

He added that it was the primary motivation for the university’s decision to increase tuition 4 percent to $39,150 beginning in fall 2008, surpassing $50,000 with room, board and other mandatory costs.

“To have an institution like Carnegie Mellon requires a lot of high-quality people,” Walters said. “No one likes to see the tuition increase, but it’s all part of doing business.”

In March, Boston University announced that it would raise tuition by 4.5 percent – making it almost $50,000 with student costs. A BU spokesperson could not be reached for comment.

School representatives said it was too early to tell if the tuition increases would affect enrollment. For Carnegie Mellon, Walters said their reputation would most likely keep enrollment high.

She said, “Fortunately, we’re a pretty sought after university.”

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