Wesleyan’s Board of Trustees voted last weekend to increase tuition and residential comprehensive fees by 5% percent for the 2010-11 academic year.
Tuition will be $41,814 for all students in 2010-2011. For freshman and sophomores, the residential comprehensive fee will be $11,592. For juniors and seniors, the fee will be $13,176. The higher residential comprehensive fee for juniors and seniors reflects the higher cost of the options available to them. Juniors and seniors have access to apartments and houses in addition to residence hall rooms. They also have greater flexibility in dining options.
“Although we are mindful of the difficulties inherent in annual tuition increases,” says President Michael S. Roth, “in order to maintain our high quality liberal arts programs and our scholar-teacher model we must increase tuition in the coming year.”
Roth went on to say that “Wesleyan is financially stable and has a balanced budget because we have significantly reduced expenditures over the past two years. We are raising student charges by the smallest amount needed to maintain our fiscal stability.” After consulting with the Board of Trustees, Roth emphasized the importance of minimizing expenditures that do not directly affect the experience of students so as to reduce the need for significant tuition hikes in the future.
In the context of the tuition increase for 2010-2011, Roth emphasized the importance of maintaining access to Wesleyan through a robust financial aid program. The university expects financial aid expenditures to rise next year by 11 percent and is projecting an increase in health care costs of 10 percent.
Wesleyan has taken steps to relieve inflationary pressures on the budget in the long term. The university has reduced annual expenses significantly and is in the process of implementing approximately $30M in reductions to its annual budget. Steps taken include:
• curtailment or elimination of proposed construction projects
• an approximate 10 percent reduction in staff (mostly through attrition and a voluntary separation program)
• one-year salary freeze
• a 22 percent reduction in energy usage since 2004
• numerous additional reductions in specific budgets
Wesleyan also has increased enrollments in each class by 30 students (120 total) to generate additional revenue.
President Roth noted that Wesleyan is building its endowment so that more resources will be available to support educational expenditures in the future. In the coming years, the university hopes to triple the endowment for financial aid, adding the equivalent of 400 new scholarships.
Roth stressed that in this difficult economic period the university is still taking steps to offer students an enhanced educational experience. “We have hired 25 faculty members, and even as we secure our future financially, we are developing new curricular programs.”
Roth cited the new programs in Creative Writing, the College of the Environment and Middle Eastern Studies as examples of curricular enhancement, as well as an initiative that has added dozens of new small classes to the curriculum in a variety of fields. “Applications have soared by 30 percent in the last two years. Students across the nation and around the world see Wesleyan as the exciting school all of us know it to be,” Roth says.