Earlier this week, President Byerly announced that tuition for the 2014-15 school year would rise by 3.69 percent. The number is the lowest since 2010, but it still results in a monetary increase of about $2,000.
Graphic by Tom Parsons ‘17
The only consolation in the newest round of tuition increases is that they’re slowing down.
On Monday, March 2, President Alison Byerly announced that Lafayette would be increasing tuition for the 2014-15 school year by 3.69 percent. The number is the second lowest in 38 years, bested only by the 2010-11 increases, which stayed under the 3 percent mark at 2.94.
Despite the increase being relatively smaller percentage-wise, the total costs will increase by over $2,000 up from this year’s $57,050 ledger.
“It happens every year,” Max Jones ‘15 said. “It really feels like we’re just powerless to resist.”
The relatively smaller increase (percentage-wise) comes at a time when Lafayette College’s budget is tight, according to President Byerly.
“It meant adjustments in other areas,” Byerly said. “We’re still finalizing details of the budget.”
Vice President for Finance and Administration Mitch Wein said that the lower increase is the result of a number of different factors, including reducing costs in non-essential areas.
“There aren’t automatic increases in everything,” Wein said. “It is much more targeted for the academic experience and the student activities on campus.”
Examples of those areas that have seen reduced cost are the telephone system, bundled and repackaged professional services, utility services, heating, and electricity.
“We’ve come up with a pretty good model that breaks the purchases of natural gas and electricity into different seasons,” Wein said. “By packaging it that way, we’ve saved a good amount of money by bidding the different bundles of services.”
Another method is reexamining the usefulness of certain administrative positions.
“If somebody leaves to take another position elsewhere, we’ve spent a long time looking at that position,” Executive Assistant to the President Jim Krivoski said. “Do we need to fill it? Could we save some money here without hurting the program?”
Wein said that the revamped dining services that were announced last week were not an example of necessary cuts.
“The dining program is really self-funded,” he said. “ There were not cuts in spending in dining.”
The increase comes on the heels of ongoing construction of major buildings, including the Oechsle Center for Global Education, the Williams Arts Campus for Theater, Film, and Media Studies, and the recently announced science and technology building funded by Kent Rockwell ‘66.
“Mitch [Wein]’s office drew up a six or seven-page list of things we could do,” Byerly said. “Some of them big, like changing salaries, and some of them small, like not giving out plastic water bottles at orientation. Everything in between.”
Meanwhile, Lehigh University announced that their undergraduate tuition increase would be 3 percent for the next academic year. An article by The Express-Times said they expect the increase to be among the lowest tuition jump in the country.
“We recognize the cost of attending the college is high,” Wein said. “We’re looking to be as conscientious of slowing the rate of increasing the cost as we can.”