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Tuition increases 7 percent

Kate Antonacci | Friday, February 11, 2005

The bill for undergraduate students to attend Notre Dame just got a little steeper – $2,622 steeper, to be exact – thanks to the 7 percent increase in tuition for the 2005-06 school year, announced by the University on Thursday.

Combined total costs will be $39,552, broken down into $31,542 for tuition and fees and $8,010 for average room and board, according to a University press release. The Graduate School, Law School and Master’s of Business Administration program all had 7 percent tuition increases as well, raising costs to $31,100 and $31,820, respectively.

Notre Dame president Rev. Edward Malloy, C.S.C explained to parents in a letter that the decision to increase tuition, made at the winter Board of Trustees meeting, stemmed from the need to balance fiscal constraint with maintaining Notre Dame’s distinctive place as a Catholic university.

“This is decided by the Board of Trustees and I’m sure that the reason is related to remaining competitive and what the University is able provide in terms of its offerings,” Director of Student Financial Services Joseph Russo said. “We try to stay competitive with other institutions.”

A major presentation for next year’s cost finances was made at the Board’s Feb. 4 meeting. While there were many components to the University’s new budget, including the raised tuition, Malloy stressed the largest supplement is still for student financial aid.

The presentation was well received and the Board remained committed to financial aid on a need-blind basis, meaning the ability to pay tuition has nothing to do with University acceptances, Russo said.

A little over $59 million in undergraduate scholarships based on financial need is given out per year. Russo said the money is given based strictly on need, not including ROTC or athletic scholarships.

Malloy and Russo both said Notre Dame is still below the average in overall cost compared to other top 20 schools. The financial aid program has continued to grow despite increased tuition, yet such a high price sometimes deters students from applying to private universities.

“The family and the student have to be willing to do their fair share as well,” Russo said. “But unfortunately, a lot of people just look at the sticker price and never get past that and don’t even apply because they think it’s over their heads.”

The University’s strong financial aid program has helped attract a diverse population to the school, especially during the last 20 years. According to Russo, 23 percent of the current student body is made up of diversity students. He also said Notre Dame is listed at No. 13 in the national “best value, best price for what you’re getting” rankings.

Russo stressed the long-term benefits of attending a university like Notre Dame.

“This is affordable if you just look at the financial aid opportunities, including the loans. But there is a value,” Russo said. “It’s an investment and it will pay you back in all kinds of ways.”

Russo stressed the financial aid system and commitment to help students complete their education lie within the values of Notre Dame.

“If the mission includes trying to be the very best and offer the opportunity to come to Notre Dame to anyone regardless of their financial circumstances, we believe that that’s a value,” Russo said. “Here’s an opportunity to come to a very special school.”