Class of 2016 to see higher charge for CI

Incoming freshmen will pay a higher fee to attend Colonial Inauguration to help offset graduation costs now that the University is expected to do away with the much-maligned graduation fee.

Beginning with the Class of 2016, and pending Board of Trustees approval, freshmen will be charged $350 to attend CI, Senior Vice President of Student and Academic Support Services Robert Chernak said. Students currently pay $250 to attend CI.

The additional $100 will be considered a matriculation fee.

“It won’t make up for the total amount of the graduation fee that people pay… It’s not just undergraduates, it’s graduates, medical students, law school students,” Chernak said, referring to those that currently pay the graduation fee. “We’re taking on this policy to replace a small percentage of that total amount of money that’s going to be forgone next year when students graduate.”

In March, Student Association President Jason Lifton announced the $100 graduation fee – a target of student complaint and of lobbying from the SA – would be eliminated for the Class of 2012, pending final approval from the Board of Trustees.

The University anticipates the matriculation fee will raise about $235,000 in funds from incoming freshmen each year. New transfer students must also pay the fee.

Executive Vice President and Treasurer Lou Katz said the University will absorb the cost next year, when the graduation fee is eliminated for the Class of 2012 but before the Class of 2016 pays the matriculation fee.

There are no current plans to charge students in graduate and professional programs the additional $100 upon enrollment, Chernak said.

He added that an additional fee when students enter the University is much better for alumni relations, rather than an additional fee as students leave.

“A lot of schools do it this way, have them pay a matriculation fee rather than a graduation fee,” Chernak said. “It’s a lot less painful and builds much better alumni relations if people pay it at one time when they first start and they don’t pay it exiting the door.”

The matriculation fee will be taken into account when considering students’ financial aid awards, Chernak said. Graduation fees were not previously considered in determining need-based awards.

Katz said the reasoning behind the fee, as opposed to raising tuition, is to keep overall costs down.

“We’ve been trying to keep our tuition, the base tuition, as low as possible,” Katz said.

-Andrea Vittorio contributed to this report.

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