Tuition: up and up, but not away

Our education is worth so much more.

Recently, the office of the president of Eastern University sent out letters to inform students of a decision to increase the cost of tuition and fees. While the increase itself is no surprise, the amount is.

According to President David Black, private universities usually see an increase in tuition and fees from year to year that averages about 7.5%. Eastern’s proposed number sits well below that at only 5.7%. Black attributes these increases to technology and healthcare costs.

How families pay for tuition has concerned Black.

“I worry that families absorbed the increases much of the time through second mortgages on their homes,” Black said in an email.

It is this concern that has fueled what Black’s letter referred to as “aggressive fundraising.”

According to the letter, approximately $13.7 million, or 40 percent of tuition costs for next year, will be funded by scholarships and grants. It is this fundraising that will take a large chunk out of the average student’s burden.

Along with fundraising, the basic structure of the university lends itself to being very cost-efficient. Black also said that “our faculty has traditionally taught one course per year more than the faculty at universities whose tuition is higher.”

In this way, fewer teaching positions are needed, thus saving money in salary and benefits.

In addition, Eastern makes use of its assets more efficiently than other schools by hosting day and evening classes in the same facilities.

Will the higher price tag for 2007-2008 affect admissions?

Since many universities have similar or more drastic increases, there should be no remarkable difference in number of applications or new students.

“I do not expect to see a downturn in admissions here next year,” Black said.

“Eastern is committed to trying to keep tuition for the College of Arts and Sciences as low as possible so as to be as accessible to as many who qualify academically to attend as possible,” Vice President of Student Development Bettie Ann Brigham said in an email.

It seems that the efforts and deeply rooted commitment of Black and Brigham have paid off.

While Eastern’s proposed tuition, room and board costs for the 2007-2008 school year is $29,700, similar schools in the area, such as Cabrini and Arcadia, have recently released numbers around $27,000 for tuition only, with their total fees averaging around $38,000.

It seems that, while we may be momentarily shocked that we will have to pay more for our education, in reality it is not much of a difference.

Eastern is proud of its success.

“You will find that an Eastern University education is worth the investment,” Black’s letter said.

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