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University increases tuition for 2009

Madeline Buckley | Wednesday, March 4, 2009

The University increased tuition for the 2009-2010 academic school year by 4.4 percent – the lowest percent increase since 1960, according to Executive Vice President John Affleck-Graves.

Tuition is set at $38,477 and room and board at $10,368, totaling at $48,845, Affleck-Graves said.

“We are aware of the pressure families are under, and we wanted to be as conservative as we could be,” he said.

When making the budget each year, Affleck-Graves said the University assesses the cost of food service and utilities based on inflation and raises tuition accordingly.

“The difficultly for us this year is that we have seen an increase in a lot of our costs, like food,” he said. “And then we are faced with a difficult choice because we don’t want to decrease the opportunities we provide for the students, like study abroad and research opportunities.”

In a letter sent to parents of students in February, University President Fr. John Jenkins said annual increases in tuition are essential in maintaining the quality of education Notre Dame offers.

“We continue to be committed to our longstanding tradition of offering the highest quality educational experience that has served as the basis for our excellent, world-wide reputation,” Jenkins said in the letter.

One investment the University will make to improve educational opportunities is reducing the student-faculty ratio by hiring more professors, Affleck-Graves said.

But despite the need to raise tuition, Affleck-Graves said the University ensures tuition is set as low as possible given the economic climate. He said the University has taken a fiscally conservative approach when balancing the budget in the past, and these measures allowed for a low percent increase for tuition this year.

In his letter to parents, Jenkins said although the struggling economy affected the University, administrators will continue to pay close attention to the financial situation.

“We are monitoring our financial situation closely and will continue to employ a fiscally conservative approach relating to our investments and expenses,” he said. “This approach has served us well in the past and will position us to maintain our firm commitment to the University’s mission and values.”

Affleck-Graves said one of the biggest priorities when balancing the budget is financial aid for undergraduate students. The money allotted to financial aid for the 2009-2010 year increased by slightly less than 10 percent in the budget.

“We still have an absolute commitment to meet the demonstrated financial need of all admitted students,” he said. “And we’re expecting the class that comes in August to have more students that need financial aid.”

Affleck-Graves said he has not heard any responses from parents of students about the tuition increase.

“I think all families are concerned about the increase, but I think they understand the University is doing the best they can to keep tuition as low as possible,” he said.