Updated: Feb. 7, 2020 at 5:25 p.m.
Undergraduate tuition will increase by 3 percent next year for incoming students.
The Board of Trustees approved a measure raising the cost of tuition for incoming students – who will no longer pay a fixed tuition rate during their time at GW – to $58,550 next year. Ellen Zane, the vice chair of the board and the chair of the board’s committee on finance and investments, said trustees arrived at the figure after conducting an analysis of GW’s market-basket schools, which averaged a tuition increase of 3.6 percent.
“We had long discussions about pricing for fiscal year 2021,” Zane said. “As you all know, when we do pricing analysis, we do it based on a market basket, so we look at our competitive pricing relative to all the other universities that are in our basket as well as the metro D.C. area.”
Last year, trustees hiked tuition by 3.1 percent, bringing the cost of attendance above $70,000.
Zane said graduate tuition will grow by 3.6 percent next year on average, but the increase could vary between about 2 to 7 percent depending on the specific graduate program.
The board postponed the tuition vote from October to its February meeting to give administrators more time to make accurate budget projections in light of changes associated with the next strategic plan, marking a departure from last year’s initiative to move the vote earlier.
The tuition hike will apply to the Class of 2024, the first class that will no longer fall under GW’s fixed tuition policy. When trustees enacted the fixed tuition policy in 2004, they increased tuition for incoming students who fell under the policy by 16 percent – compared to just a 5 percent tuition increase for students who fell under the flexible tuition policy.
Trustees also approved housing rates for the 2020-21 academic year and OK’d a measure simplifying housing costs from 17 to five different rates, depending on the residence hall. Board of Trustees Chair Grace Speights said the move will bring more “certainty” to students looking to determine their cost of attendance at GW.
About 37 percent of freshmen reside in Thurston Hall, most of whom pay less than $10,000 a year for housing. All upperclassman housing on campus costs more than $10,000 a year.
“Between your first and second year, you don’t want that surprise, so we’re trying to close the gap so there are no surprises,” she said in an interview.
Housing rates next year will range from $10,200 and $16,400 per academic year depending on the type of room selected, officials said in an email sent to students Friday. The first three tiers of pricing – $10,120, $11,910 and $13,120 a year – will be available for freshmen and upperclassmen, while Tiers 4 and 5 – $14,640 and $16,400 a year – will be available only to upperclassmen.
A “traditional” two-person room with or without a bathroom will be placed among the lower-priced tiers, while “apartment-style” rooms are placed in higher tiers, the email states.
Speights added that the board’s discussions about adjustments to next year’s cost of attendance focused on housing costs. The total cost of attendance for students in the Class of 2024 will rise about 3.4 percent, depending on the housing option students choose and changes in the cost of the dining plan, which trustees have not yet determined.
“Even though we had fixed tuition, students would have no idea about housing and the increases in housing,” she said in an interview. “So while you may have big tuition, it could be offset by the cost of your housing, which is why our focus is on housing.”