Grad programs to be some of cheapest in District next year

Correction appended

Tuition rates for graduate programs on the Foggy Bottom campus are slated to increase 5 percent for the 2011 fiscal year, a University official said this week, but GW’s graduate programs will still be some of the least expensive in the District.

Graduate-level tuition will increase to $1,175 per credit hour for the year, Assistant Vice President for Graduate and Special Enrollment Management Kristin Williams said this week. This year, the tuition rate was $1,118 per credit, according to the Office of Institutional Research and Planning.

Graduate tuition levels are determined by market basket comparisons, enrollment levels and school input, and ultimately approved by the Board of Trustees. Williams compares tuition rates at about 20 other colleges and universities to develop GW’s tuition levels, she said, adding that she also speaks with upper-level administrators, deans and senior officials. Because the majority of graduate students are part-time, most students pay per credit hour.

Williams said that GW’s graduate tuition levels for the 2011 fiscal year – which runs from July 1, 2010 to June 30, 2011 – should be at or below the national average for graduate tuition. Last year the average increase per year was 6.4 percent, and GW tries to increase at a rate of 5 percent, she said.

The $1,175 level is only for programs located on Foggy Bottom and does not include the School of Business’s MBA programs, the GW Law School or the medical school.

Tuition for law students will be $1,547 per credit hour, spokeswoman Claire Duggan said. According to the University Budget Office’s Web site, tuition for the School of Business’ global MBA program will be $1,250 per credit.

For the current academic year, graduate students at American paid $1,237 per credit hour, according to American’s Web site. Graduate students at Georgetown will pay $ 1,577 during the 2010-2011 year, according to its Web site. Rates for MBA, medical and law students at both those institutions vary.

The main focus of graduate tuition is to cover the costs of the programs so students can “continue pursuing academic excellence,” Williams said, noting that officials try to be cost effective and thoughtful about revenue in order to keep tuition down.

Michael Chapman, assistant vice president for communications and marketing for the GW Medical Center, said schools often have a range of tuition to cover the needs of the institution.

“Because of the many different programs that we have at the School of Medicine and Health Sciences and the School of Public Health and Health Services, we have a range of tuition rates,” Chapman said. “In general, however, we have held the tuition increases at both schools to modest levels, recognizing the desire to keep education affordable and the need for resources to offer the highest quality education that our students deserve.”

Chapman said the medical center budgeted for increased financial aid to students in the incoming academic years.

Correction appended (April 4, 2010)

The article incorrectly described GW’s process for establishing graduate tuition rates, stating that the prices were determined by market prices instead of the Board of Trustees. Based on school input, market basket comparisons, and enrollment projections, the Division of Academic Affairs submits recommendations to the Board of Trustees. As with undergraduate costs, the ultimate responsibility for setting graduate tuition and fees rests with the Board.

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