Room And Board, Tuition At NU Will Go Up 5 Percent

Libby Nelson

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By Libby NelsonThe Daily Northwestern

Total undergraduate costs at Northwestern will rise by $2,166 next year, an increase of almost 5 percent over the current year, university officials announced Tuesday.

Tuition and room and board rates both will increase by 4.96 percent, a smaller increase than in the past two years. The full cost of a year on campus with a meal plan of 19 meals will be $45,840.

The extra funds will finance expanded undergraduate programming along with facilities maintenance and salaries and benefits for faculty and staff, according to a university press release.

NU President Henry Bienen said the increase is in line with peer institutions.

“I thought it was a modest tuition increase,” he said. “It was a little bit lower than where we’ve been.”

While not all of those universities have released their tuition increases for next fall, he said they tend to hover at about 5 percent.

Washington University in St. Louis increased total costs by 5.2 percent this year, to $47,156. Stanford University increased its tuition 5.17 percent, to $45,608. Duke University’s increase was smaller than NU’s – 4.6 percent, to $45,121.

The exception to the 5-percent rule is Princeton University, which froze tuition rates for next year and will draw on its endowment to fund the areas usually financed by tuition. Although NU’s endowment grew by 22 percent in the past year, it is still one-third the size of Princeton’s, and university officials have said they will not consider taking such an action.

Bienen said raising tuition rates is important because it is a constant source of revenue for the university.

“You can do a lot of things you want to do,” Bienen said. “You want the flow of money, not because we give it out into salaries, or because we give it out in dividends to trustees, but because we invest it in things that we think make the university stronger.”

Bienen added that financial aid grants will increase at a rate proportional to tuition.

“You’re trying not to impose terrific burdens on families,” he said. “We’re not trying to put tuition through the roof.”

Weinberg freshman Patience Baach said the increase is more than she expected.

“It’s surprising because the endowment is also increasing,” Baach said. “It seems like a lot of money. … As a freshman, I thought coming into Northwestern that it’s really expensive. It just keeps piling on.”

Peter Papagiannopoulos, a Weinberg senior, said although he has seen tuition rise every year, the increases are “preposterous.”

“It should go up the amount that inflation goes up,” he said. “You know it’s going to go up about (5 percent), but it should be whatever inflation is.”

Bienen said he understands that higher tuition can be a financial hardship but that increases are necessary as NU tries to keep pace with other universities.

“I had three daughters all in Ivy League schools at the same time, so I’m quite aware of what those burdens can be, were for me and are for a lot of people,” Bienen said. “I understand that.”

Tuition also will increase at The Graduate School by 4.96 percent, at the Law School by 5.6 percent and at the Feinberg School of Medicine by 3.85 percent.

Reach Libby Nelson at libbynelson@northwestern.edu.

Undergraduate Expenses:-George Washington University $50,660-Washington University in St. Louis $47,156-Cornell University $45,971-Brown University $45,948-Northwestern University $45,840-Stanford University $45,608-Duke University $45,121

Median U.S. Household income (2005 Census): $46,326

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