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Tuition Increases, But at Slower Pace

By Michelle Ye Hee Lee Posted: 02/13/2009
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The Board of Trustees approved a 4.3 percent total tuition increase for the Emory College at its meeting yesterday, the smallest increase since 2003 as a response to the recession.

The tuition for Emory College and the undergraduate business program at the Goizueta Business School will be $37,500 for the school year 2009-10, a 4.7 percent increase since last year’s $35,800. The total cost for College undergraduates, including room and board, will be $48,932.

In light of the global economic crisis, private universities around the country are striving to keep tuition increases as low as possible this year. Last year, the College and undergraduate B-School tuition increased by 5.6 percent. The nationwide average for undergraduate tuition increase has been 5 to 6 percent.

“[The tuition increase] will be lower than what we had projected a year ago at this time,” said Earl Lewis, executive vice president of academic affairs and provost. “[We are] responding in part to the pressures that are out there and trying to keep in mind what’s happening in the global market place.”

Tuition for the rest of University divisions will also increase. Tuition for the B-School’s MBA program will be $41,000, a 5.1 percent increase. The School of Nursing will see a 5 percent tuition increase at $33,400, 0.3 percent lower than last year’s. The tuition increase for the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences is slightly lower this year at $32,800, a 3.1 percent increase compared to last year’s 3.2 percent. Oxford College saw a 6.1 percent tuition increase, at $31,400.

In a Universitywide letter sent Tuesday, Lewis wrote that the College is seeing an increased demand for need-based financial aid. Lewis said in an interview with the Wheel that due to the sharply increased need among College students, financial aid will be the priority for spending the tuition money this year.

Lewis, who is also the chair of the University Ways and Means Committee, wrote in the letter that the University is projecting core operating budget revenue growth of less than 2 percent, a marked plunge from the 7 percent revenue growth that Emory had seen for several years. The University must focus on recruiting and retaining top students and “reward, retain and recruit the best faculty and staff,” Lewis wrote.

With the smallest revenue growth in recent history and the lowest tuition increase since 2003, the University faces challenges in balancing its commitment to a need-blind admission policy and the growing pressures from the plummeting economy.

“It’s the hardest thing in the world. It’s as much hard has science, to tell you the truth,” Lewis said, adding that the process of deciding how much the tuition will increase requires consideration of numerous factors, including the basic expenses that University units will need and, keeping that in mind, how to remain need-blind.

“You don’t want huge financial gaps between the units so that they deliver different products. And at the same time, keep it as affordable as possible,” Lewis said.

The increase in room and boarding charges for the College also remain low this year. Room charges will increase 3 percent to $6,666, and boarding by 3.2 percent to $4,230, compared to last year’s 3 percent and 4.2 percent increases, respectively. Lewis said the percent increase in both room and boarding rates were also lower than they were projected a year ago.

Public schools around the country are struggling to make up for cuts from state governments. Georgia’s public schools are also likely to see a tuition hike, but the Georgia Tech and University of Georgia tuition increases have not been released yet.

Lewis said that although the increase is lower this year, the administration projects that Emory’s position among the top 20 private research universities and in the U.S. News and World Report’s ranking will not change because colleges across the nation are being impacted in the same way.

“All of us are both trying to contain the cost but have real pressures in terms of being able to provide the services that we know our students demand,” Lewis said.

The Board of Trustees also approved two Emory-related name changes. Emory Crawford Long Hospital will now bear the name Emory University Hospital Midtown, in order to identify the facility as an Emory-owned and operated hospital.

“Being more clearly affiliated with Emory in the public eye will help expand upon the hospital’s 100-year tradition of providing outstanding care to people in metro Atlanta and throughout the region,” Wagner said in a University press release.

The new School of Medicine building will be named for Trustee Emeritus James B. Williams, retired chairman and CEO of SunTrust Banks, Inc., in honor of Williams’ 35 years of service on the Board and his chairmanship for more than 20 years on the Woodruff Health Sciences Center Board.

According to Vice President and Secretary of the University Rosemary Magee, the Board discussed international efforts underway within the University and held a panel discussion to explore ways to “strengthen Emory’s global presence and impact” through study abroad programs, partnerships and research programs.

— Contact Michelle Ye Hee Lee.

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