The Ithaca College Board of Trustees met Feb. 26 in New York City to approve several budget changes, including raising tuition and room and board fees. The decision was due in part to the recent economic downturn and the rise in health-care costs, both of which greatly affected the college’s endowment.
Tuition at Ithaca College (IC) will cost $22,264, and standard room and board will be $9,466, bringing next year’s total cost of attending classes to $31,770.
“I think students are getting complacent about tuition increases,” said IC student Kevin Hill. “They happen every year. I think we are now conditioned to expect the price to keep rising. If we weren’t, I think there would be much more outcry by the students, but there really is not.”
The student demand for Internet access and unlimited local telephone service in residence halls was a major factor in the increase in room costs.
“Certainly, Ithaca College is not lacking in funding,” IC student Abigail Langweiler said. “The only way I predict the college will maintain students from lower-income brackets might be financial aid.”
A letter from Ithaca College president Peggy R. Williams was sent to parents announcing the increase. In the letter, she stated that the tuition increase will help advance the college’s academic scholarship and prestige.
“Ithaca has long maintained a practice of good fiscal management, with timely and appropriate investment in our programs and facilities. The result is a high-quality education consistently cited in college guides and national magazines as one of the ‘best values’ in higher education,” Williams said in the letter.
Williams stated that the college will remain committed to making its education available to all income brackets through a strong financial aid program.
“To be honest, I think the majority of people on this campus are from upper-income brackets now. They will probably just maintain the demographics they currently have. … I just think they have to watch out that they don’t forget about the average kids whose parents can’t afford to pay the tuition, but are too well off to get all of the financial aid. I think these are the kids you are losing. You end up with the highs and lows and little in the middle,” Hill said.
The trustees also approved additional support for two of the college’s diversity initiatives.
The Martin Luther King Jr. Scholars Program will be funded for a second year. The program grants financial assistance to underrepresented minorities in American higher education. The other approved initiative was funding for new academic programs in the Center for the Study of Culture, Race and Ethnicity. The department offers an interdisciplinary perspective on the experiences of groups that have traditionally been on the periphery of American society.
“I support the board’s approval to grant additional support to the Martin Luther King Jr. Scholars Program and the Center for the Study of Culture, Race and Ethnicity. However, I become skeptical of this initiative to ensure and further diversity when the focus remains solely on skin color. There is much more to diversity than that, and the college should certainly look for other means to diversify ideas. Funding something along those lines would certainly enhance our student body,” Langweiler said.
The trustees also approved funding for an Employee Assistance Program in the Human Resources Office.
Archived article by Jonathan Square