January 23, 2006

Trustees Ratify Tuition Growth

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Amid the fervor surrounding the announcement of Cornell’s president-elect, David J. Skorton, the University Board of Trustees approved a 4.8 percent tuition increase during the 2006-07 school year for the endowed colleges last weekend. The approved measures also include a five percent increase for New York State residents and non-residents who are first through third year students and a 5.2 percent increase for non-resident fourth year students.

The hikes come just a year after the Board cleared a 4.3 and 8.3 percent tuition increase for the endowed and contract colleges, respectively. Prior to finalizing the figures, the Board will consult the State University of New York trustees.

According to Simeon Moss ’73, Cornell’s press office director, the main drivers for the increase were utilities, inflation and staff and faculty health benefits.

“There were a lot of factors that go into putting a budget plan together,” Moss said.

Trustee Doug Mitarotonda grad noted that the increases have to do with the actual costs of an education, which are significantly higher than the tuition rate. The extra money generated will help departments such as Facilities, which has faced rising costs in utilities.

Tuition for the endowed colleges during the 2006-07 school year will be $32,800 – a $1,500 increase from the current mark. Additionally, the Johnson Graduate School of Management tuition was increased by 6.7 percent to $38,800, and Cornell Law School students will effectively face at least a five percent rise in fees and College of Veterinary Medicine students will experience almost a five percent hike as well.

Meanwhile, as recommended by the Student Assembly and the Graduate and Professional Student Assembly, undergraduate student activity increased by 8.4 percent to $181 and graduate student activities fees rose 12.9 percent to $70. On-campus undergraduate housing rates were also bumped up by 5.1 percent to an average of $6,390 and the full-plan dining contract was increased by four percent to $4,336.

With the tuition hikes all across the board, it would seem as if the university’s need-blind financial aid system will be further stretched. Despite the fact that other Ivy League schools have increased their aid packages in recent times, Mitarotonda said that the tuition increases will actually help students on financial aid because part of the extra money goes to that department.

“The important thing to remember is that with the tuition increase, the immediate financial aid for students is going up with it,” Mitarotonda said. “The tuition increase will most affect those who can afford a Cornell education.”

He said that the board itself does not come up with the percentages for increasing fees. Rather, those numbers come from the Carolyn Ainslie, vice president for planning and budgeting, and her office.

“I think that [the budget] obviously needs to keep up with the number of things that are going on on-campus,” Moss said.

Archived article by Brian Tsao
Sun Assistant Sports Editor