Staff Editorial: University is increasing tuition at a fair rate

If you play a word association game with “George Washington University,” chances are many will automatically answer with the word “expensive,” or some similar sentiment.

Indeed, for many years, the University was ranked as one of the most expensive private schools in the country. But it is this perception that University President Steven Knapp and the Board of Trustees have been trying to shed.

The University is committed to a fixed tuition plan, through which students who are enrolled at the University are guaranteed to pay the same tuition for 10 semesters. And any tuition increase for the incoming freshman class is typically tied to inflation like this year’s 3.7 percent increase for the Class of 2016.

And while there will certainly be complaints and grumbles from the community of another tuition hike, the University’s commitment to a fixed tuition plan that rises with inflation is extremely laudable.

Last year, the average tuition increase of private universities was 4.5 percent. And in a time of severe economic downturn, many private universities have had to drastically increase tuition – students entering the Class of 2016 at the University of North Carolina face an 8.8 percent hike.

GW has maintained tuition increases around 3 percent annually since the start of Knapp’s tenure, and the reason for the extra bump this year is to fund initiatives like the Career Services overhaul, which will directly benefit students.

So while the community may continue to criticize another tuition hike, it should be recognized that the administration is doing everything in its power to limit tuition increases as much as possible.

Nobody wants to see tuition increases. But students and their parents should recognize the sensitivity to cost of attendance that administrators are demonstrating, even during a time when it would be justifiable to abandon the current tuition model.

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