Tuition increase reflects trend

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    The cost to attend TCU next fall is $1,840 more, and some students say they aren’t happy about it.The board of trustees raised annual tuition 8 percent to pay for utilities, health-care benefits for faculty and staff, and lowering the student-to-faculty ratio to 13-to-1, said Chancellor Victor Boschini.

    At a Nov. 2 Faculty Senate meeting, Provost Nowell Donovan said TCU will have to hire 59 new faculty to lower the ratio of 14.7-to-1 to 13-to-1. He also said over the past three years, 41 new faculty positions have been created.

    Ali Lewis, a sophomore political science and Spanish major, said she doesn’t think raising tuition to lower the ratio is worth it.

    “I haven’t noticed my classes being so large that everyone needs to pay $2,000 more to solve the problem,” Lewis said.

    Lewis, who said she is concerned about financing her education next year, said she didn’t think about the potential for a tuition increase when she entered TCU as a freshman.

    “It wasn’t an issue then,” Lewis said. “(The administration) didn’t really address it, and I hadn’t thought about it until last year when I found out it was being raised.”

    According to the 2005 TCU Factbook, tuition was $21,320 when Lewis entered TCU as a freshman in fall 2005. It will be $24,820 next fall.

    For Alex St. Amour, tuition was even lower when he enrolled as a freshman in fall 2004. St. Amour, a junior business marketing and management major, was paying $19,740 as a freshman.

    Going into his senior year, St. Amour will pay $5,080 more for the year than when he entered TCU.

    “I think it’s unfortunate that we’re not locked into our initial tuition rate,” St. Amour said. “I don’t know that the tuition necessarily justifies the value of the degree.”

    TCU must raise tuition to accommodate student demands, Boschini said.

    The university is not alone in its decision to increase tuition. Nationally, tuition has increased an average of 8 percent each year, according to financialaid.org.

    This estimate matches exactly what Donovan predicted not long ago as the potential increase for TCU.

    Additionally, collegeboard.com states that the national average for tuition at private four-year colleges in 2006-07 is $22,218. TCU’s tuition this year is just above this at $22,980.

    Even with rising tuition, Boschini said applications keep flowing in and said TCU has seen record numbers of applications in the past six years, despite tuition hikes.

    For the current school year, the university received more than 8,700 applications from entering freshmen, which, Boschini said, is five times the number of available spaces.

    Sophomore business major Taylor Schadt said a TCU degree is worth the money, depending on what you study.

    “I think things like the new business school ranking justify paying the money for a TCU degree,” Schadt said. “As long as the business school continues to have and gain prestige, it’s worth it for me.”

    Schadt is referring to this year’s Wall Street Journal Guide to Top Business Schools, which ranked TCU No. 11. Last year, TCU was ranked No. 18.

    Some students may not notice a tuition increase if they have need-based scholarships, Boschini said. Those scholarships will increase proportionately with tuition, he said.

    “We don’t have enough to make merit-based scholarships go up,” Boschini said. “If we had a bigger endowment, we could cover that each year, but we don’t.”

    Boschini said the university could lower tuition if students wanted fewer services. But he said he’s never heard a student ask for less of anything; rather, students all have great ideas for new things they would like.

    “I always say, you can have whatever you want, but somebody has to pay for it – we both know who that person is,” Boschini said. “You know what? It is expensive here. That’s the truth.

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