Tuition jumps for graduate programs

Tuition for all of the University’s graduate programs will increase next semester, according to data released Monday.

Master’s and doctorate programs will see per credit increases between 1.6 and 10 percent – a move University President Steven Knapp said will put GW’s fees on par with market basket institutions.

“We’ve discovered over time that our tuition for graduate programs has fallen pretty significantly behind the competitors for those programs,” Knapp said at a Faculty Senate meeting Feb. 10.

University spokeswoman Jill Sankey declined to provide tuition data for each graduate program, because more than 100 of them have individual tuition breakdowns.

Tuition for master’s students in the School of Nursing led the pack of increases with a 10 percent bump, raising fees to $760 per credit.

The next steepest increases among examples provided – an 8.5 percent climb – will hit master’s programs in the Elliott School of International Affairs and doctorate programs in the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences and the Graduate School of Education and Human Development.

The College of Professional Studies saw the smallest approved increase at 1.6 percent.

“Even with these increases, we are still far below the rate of other graduate [programs] from our market basket and local schools that we routinely compete against,” Senior Vice Provost for Academic Affairs and Planning Forrest Maltzman said.

Tuition for master’s and doctorate degrees at private universities increased about 4 percent nationally last year, according to the most recent data compiled by The College Board.

While tuition will increase by 2.5 percent for GW’s first-year medical students and 3 percent for continuing medical students, “these increases are lower than the 3.5 percent market basket average increase,” School of Medicine and Health Sciences spokeswoman Anne Banner said.

“The law school worked incredibly hard to keep any increases in tuition as low as possible, and we were able to keep the rate of increase the same as last year and far lower in percentage terms than most of GW’s other graduate programs,” GW Law School Dean Paul Schiff Berman said. “We also expect that our new tuition will remain lower than most of our peer schools.”

Full- and part-time law students will face a 3.9 percent tuition bump in the 2012-2013 academic year.

Maltzman emphasized the University’s commitment to increasing graduate financial aid alongside the tuition bump, saying “additional aid has the potential to be transformative in building world-class research-oriented programs.” Next year will see “the single biggest increase in [graduate] aid in the history of the University,” he said.

Assistant Provost for Graduate Enrollment Management Kristin Williams declined to comment on the tuition increase’s potential effects on applications.

Because the institutional financial aid pools for graduate and undergraduate students are separate, the decision to increase graduate tuition will not impact the amount of aid available for the undergraduate population, Associate Vice President for Financial Assistance Dan Small said.

The Board of Trustees unanimously approved the graduate tuition hikes at its Feb. 10 meeting, alongside a 3.7 percent bump for undergraduate fees.

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