Tuition and fees for the 2004-05 school year will increase 11.9 percent, from $17,590 to $19,700, the Board of Trustees announced last week.
Tuition and fees for students enrolled prior to March 2001 who are still on the hourly plan will increase from $570 to $640.
Part-time students will pay $685 to $835 an hour in tuition and fees, depending on the number of hours enrolled. On-campus housing costs will increase 4 percent, from an average of $5,780 to $6,010.
"On any tuition issue, this is never an easy decision," Chancellor Victor Boschini said. "We just try to balance how we could provide you with the best possible education at the lowest possible price."
Tuition has risen more than 60 percent since the 1999-2000 academic year, from $12,290. Flat-rate tuition and fees began for incoming students in fall 2001 was $15,040, and has increased 30.9 percent since then.
Tuition will still remain below the national average for four-year private institutions, said Carol Campbell, vice chancellor for finance and business. The College Board, a nonprofit organization that provides information about colleges, estimated private school tuition and fees rose, on average, 6 percent during the 2003-2004 academic year, from $18,596 to $19,710.
The College Board has not yet released the averages for 2004-2005. "TCU continues to provide students with an above-average educational experience at a below-average cost," Boschini said in a press release. "Even with the increase, TCU will remain among the lowest-priced private, comprehensive universities in the southwest and just below the national average tuition price for private institutions."
The cost of a TCU education will remain less than the cost of an education at a peer school, Dean of Admissions Ray Brown said. "Even with this increase, however, we remain — at least in cost — well behind SMU, our primary private school competitor, and Baylor, our second most frequent competitor," Brown said.
Financial aid will also increase to help offset the raised tuition costs, Campbell said. "We're always very concerned about losing students," Campbell said. Financial aid will increase at least $4.5 million, raising the total amount of financial aid awarded to $43.6 million. This figure includes TCU scholarships, federal and state funds and federal loans.
"It (financial aid increase) will be at least an amount prorated to the increase in tuition," Campbell said. "We will be taking a hard look to see if that amount is sufficient." The tuition increase will not affect the number of applicants for fall 2004, Brown said.
However, the increase could impact the number of applications for fall 2005. "They're the ones who will see the large increase in cost from the beginning of their college search," Brown said. "Every percentage increase in tuition can and will eliminate at least some people from the consideration set that would include TCU." The increase is a "double-edged sword," Boschini said.
Students will have to pay more for their education, but the quality of their education will improve. For example, the increase will help fund 16 new faculty members, Campbell said. "It provides the compensation to attract and retain top faculty, and it allows programs to improve," she said.
TCU tries to spend frugally and cut costs wherever it can, Boschini said. "In general, I have tried to encourage people to do as much as they can, and I think they are," he said. The tuition increase will help TCU grow as a university, Board of Trustees member Malcolm Louden said. "We're doing everything we can to make the university better," Louden said. "That's the overriding thing."