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College tuition increases

Ashley Charnley | Thursday, March 19, 2009

The Saint Mary’s Board of Trustees approved a 5 percent increase in tuition and a 3 percent increase in room and board costs for the 2009-2010 school year Tuesday.

This will make the average cost $38,822, including tuition and room and board fees, according to the College’s press release.

The rise in tuition is a result of the Board evaluating “economic conditions, our current pricing structure and our peer institutions,” Daniel Meyer, vice president for Enrollment Management, said.

Due to the College’s costs in employee health care, energy and services, in addition to facility depreciation costs, the Board decided on this tuition increase, Meyer said.

According to Meyer, the Board considered the impact this increase would have on families who are already struggling to keep up with costs in the current state of the economy.

“The Board was concerned about the impact any tuition increase will have on families. But they also believe firmly in maintaining the quality of education we provide and determined that this modest increase is necessary to maintain the quality of education at Saint Mary’s,” Meyer said.

In a letter to students’ families, Saint Mary’s President Carol Ann Mooney informed parents that she recognizes the many family currently struggle to pay tuition.

“We are aware of the financial hardships faced by many of our students’ families. We realize that many of you make significant sacrifices in order to allow your daughter to attend Saint Mary’s. You can give her no finer gift, nor can you make any better investment in her future,” Mooney wrote.

Raising tuition as well as room and board fees is not the only way Saint Mary’s is trying to increase revenues for the College.

In a press release earlier this week, the College said it is also working to cut expenses in areas that do not affect the classroom experience or student services. They have asked many departments to lower expenses by eliminating funding for administrative travel, cutting positions and capping salaries, Meyer said.

The savings will go toward making tuition more affordable for students, Meyer said.

“All money saved from the budgetary restraints will be put toward financial aid. The college will do everything possible to assist our current and future students in these difficult times,” Meyer said.

The Board would like for parents to view the tuition increase as a long-term investment that will benefit their daughters for years to come.

“In trying economic times we want families to understand that this economy will improve and the investment in their daughter’s education will pay off,” Meyer said.

Mooney also expressed confidence that the College will continue to work to provide a good education for students in her letter to parents this week.

“Thank you for the trust you place in us. We do, and will continue to, work hard to merit that trust,” she wrote.