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February 17, 2016

Approved Tuition Increase Emblematic of Larger Trend

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Provost Michael Kotlikoff announced at a Student Assembly meeting last Thursday that Cornellians will see a nearly four percent rise in tuition in the 2016-17 academic year.

Kotlikoff said both endowed and contract non-resident tuition would rise 3.75 percent in coming months. Campus housing and dining costs will also increase by two percent, according to the provost.

Kotlikoff emphasized that the proposed 2016-2017 tuition represents the lowest percentage increase for the endowed tuition rate since 1965, adding that the cost of tuition has decreased for low-income families in recent years.   

“This is not something you hear in the paper often and is not apparent to many people, but in fact, the price of education has come down dramatically for the lowest three family income quintiles for applying students,” he said.

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In the past, administrators have cited increases in the cost of room, board and mandatory fees for endowed college and out-of-state contract college students to justify tuition increases.

In 2015, endowed college and out-of-state contract students experienced a three-percent increase in tuition, room, board and mandatory fees. Undergraduate tuition increased $1,830, compared with $1,920 last year, for all undergraduates last year.

“Keeping the rise in tuition to below four percent for most undergraduates reflects our best efforts to be fiscally responsible while assuring a rich and complex undergraduate education and experience,” said former provost Harry Katz said last year.

In the 2014-15 academic year, the Board of Trustees approved an across-the-board 3.26 percent increase in the cost of attendance, according to the University.

In the 2013-14 academic year, there was a 3.4 percent increase — equivalent to a  $1,945 hike in tuition cost compared to the previous year. In 2012, tuition showed an increase of $1,860 for all undergraduate students.

Kotlikoff assured students at the S.A. meeting that Cornell’s administrators will continue in its commitment to bolstering financial aid and investing in affordable education, despite the regular rise in tuition.

  • Cornell Alumnus

    Thank you, Pres. Skorton and your $2 billion Cornell Tech venture.

  • Aaron

    It is absolutely ridiculous that over the course of my 4 year education at Cornell, tuition has increased by close to 2,000 annually. That means that my tuition has increased by close to 20% since enrolling. As the total bill becomes larger, the same monetary increase can be obtained by a lower percentage (“lowest percentage increase”). As a student who doesn’t qualify for financial aid but also is not within the realm of the top 1%, Cornell’s model for higher education misled my family as to the cost of a Cornell degree. The current model views the undergraduate population as a revenue source which can be levied when addressing costs arising from unnecessary building and campus expansions, organizational redundancies, and unaccounted expenditure. If you are not going to pretend, at least treat the student as a customer. Not only has my tuition increased, but the university has also cut funding to student support, programming, colleges, and academic departments. How can Cornell get away with daylight robbery year after year without taking into account the real effects on its stakeholders. The administration needs to be scrutinized and criticized for its top down handling of finances, tuition increases, health fees, bus passes, need-blind admissions, faculty relations, academic and student program cuts, and the College of Business merger. While I remain a proud Cornellian because of my experiences with friends and colleagues, I feel slighted and betrayed by how the institution and administration have treated the undergraduate population. I worry for the future of our beloved university as well as the future of soon-to-be Cornellians.

  • Alumnus

    When is the last time Cornell did a “bottoms up” review of its cost structure?
    There comes a time when the university must recognize that its cost structure (i.e. aging professors with full retirement benefits, exorbitant spending on travel and promotion, redundant layers of administration, underutilized facilities — classroom space/lecture halls, etc.) are pricing its product out of the market for many, many qualified individuals in the middle and lower classes.

  • Dahn Shaulis

    Three words (by Suzanne Mettler): degrees of inequality.