January 28, 2003

Trustees Vote to Increase Endowed Tuition

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Cornell undergraduates in the endowed colleges and graduate students will have to dig a little deeper into their pockets to pay for their education starting next year.

The first Board of Trustees meeting of the year convened this past weekend in New York City to discuss future tuition rates for the endowed colleges. Topics addressed at the meeting also included the land grant study conducted during the past year, admission applications, the affirmative action case involving the University of Michigan and the “progress made at Weill Medical College” in the area of “improved research,” according to President Hunter R. Rawlings III.

This meeting, the first of four meetings held annually by the Board of Trustees, took place in New York City in order to accommodate the Board of Overseers from the Weill Medical College. The remaining three meetings planned for this year will occur in Ithaca and will thus not incorporate the Board of Overseers.

A central issue discussed at the meeting was the future of tuition rates for the endowed colleges. The Board of Trustees voted to increase tuition approximately 5 percent for next year. The increase sets tuition for Cornell’s endowed undergraduate and graduate school students at $28,630 for the 2003-2004 academic year. The current tuition is $27,270.

“Despite the significant budget pressures Cornell faces again this year, the administration and trustees are committed to keeping tuition increases as low as possible,” said Provost Biddy (Carolyn A.) Martin in a press release.

Tuition for the Johnson School of Management rose 5.9 percent to $32,800 while students in the Law School had tuition raised 5.5 percent to $32,970.

Undergraduate and graduate student activity fees were unchanged. However, undergraduate housing rates were increased by 1 percent to $5,675 and the full-plan dining contract increased by 4 percent to $3,854.

This lead to mixed reaction from Cornell students.

“I’d say it’s pretty standard for most colleges to increase tuition about that much in a year,” said Elizabeth Badame ’05, a student in the College of Engineering.

“The schools are having problems; [yet], you have no idea why they need all this money. I have no real problem with it,” said Ian Daniel Block ’04, a student in the College of Engineering.

“I personally don’t like it too much because I come from a family that is not as well off and established as most families. With the economy the way it is, it is much more difficult for blue-collar workers to make money. I am uncomfortable with it, but Cornell has always given me a lot of financial aid to make up for the difference,” said Moses Song ’05, a student in the College of Arts and Sciences.

Some students were clearly unhappy with the tuition increase for next year.

“I don’t think they should really increase [the tuition]; I think they should cut unimportant programs that are not needed,” said Diana A. Aydin ’05, a student in the College of Arts and Sciences.

Students outside of the endowed colleges also held opinions regarding the tuition increase.

“Since I don’t attend one of the endowed schools, it doesn’t really affect me, but I do feel bad for students who already pay so much, especially their parents,” said Adam Daum ’05, a student in the College of Agriculture and Life Science.

Another topic discussed at the meeting was the Weill Medical College.

“This is always a very special meeting because we have a presentation from the Weill Medical College, which I think is fascinating,” said Susan H. Murphy ’73, vice president for student and academic services.

Rawlings also stressed the significant contribution of the Weill Medical College presentation to the overall success of the meeting. “It was a real good meeting . . . a lot of progress has been made at the Weill College of Medicine,” said Rawlings.

“The college has [also] done an excellent job of hiring new research faculty,” he added. Consequently, the success of the college’s research has done much to “attract federal research money,” Rawlings said.

In addition to the Weill Medical College and tuition increase, the meeting also addressed “modifications to be made to admission applications,” said Rawlings. Like other colleges nationwide, Cornell is currently reviewing its early decision policy.

Finally, the meeting investigated the affirmative action case at the University of Michigan and its possible implications at Cornell as well as the progress of the land grant study, a report looking into whether or not Cornell’s statutory colleges are fulfilling their mission as land grant schools.

Archived article by David Andrade