The Board of Trustees unanimously voted to raise tuition for the 2010-2011 academic year by $300 at their Saturday, Dec. 5 meeting.
The tuition hike represents a three-percent increase for in-state students and slightly more than a two-percent increase for out-of-state students. The Board also voted to increase fees, room and board by three percent for all students.
The increases come as the Board and school administration try to balance the budget for the upcoming fiscal year. The current global recession has affected the school’s fundraising ability as Gail Harmon, Trustee, reported to the Board, “This is a tough time for development.”
Harmon added, “[The school] has lost [its] two top fundraisers, the College president and vice president of development” but feels confident that the development staff can reach its goal of $3 million for the upcoming fiscal year.
In terms of costs, the school’s greatest increases over the last year have been in the cost of health care and energy, according to Tom Botzman, Vice President of Business and Finance. Although, he said, “prices in general have not risen much in the last year, which helps with our budget considerations.”
Fortunately, the College was spared in the latest round of state budget cuts, approved by the Governor on Wednesday, Nov. 18. The College’s funding from the state comes in the form of a block grant. “It’s [an unofficial] agreement between the college, the legislature and the governor that [the College] won’t ask for increases in good times and in bad times [the College] won’t get cut,” according to Michael Cain, chair of the political science department and director of the Center for Democracy Studies.
“It’s been a really good strategy for [the College] to maintain a steady income from the state,” said Cain and, “if [the College] does get cut I am not anticipating that [the College] will get really large cuts.”
The grant block that the College receives each year is indexed to inflation and this year the school gained an additional $153,000 to compensate for inflation, according to trustee Peg Duchesne ‘97. She added that, “overall the College has been treated very favorable as the state addresses revenue falls.”
During the board meeting, Steny Hoyer, trustee and U.S. House Majority Leader, noted that the school’s financial outlook was greatly helped by the Recovery and Reinvestment Act passed earlier this year by Congress but that the funding will likely not be available next year as Congress will focus on, “job creation and financial responsibility.”
According to Botzman, federal funding for next year “is not yet an immediate concern,” and that he will wait until “the quarterly estimate scheduled to come out in December” before worrying about federal funding. “The College has built a solid budget for next year and that board is very careful about how [it] spends money…. [The Board] is trying to keep tuition increases as low as possible.” The three percent increase is lower than the national average.