Tuition rises 3.75%, room and board up 3%

By Raisa Benusa

Lumen Reporter

The 2012-13 general tuition at Vit­erbo will increase by 3.75 percent for the upcoming academic year.

The new price for tuition is set at $22,080 for the academic year, up from $21,280 in 2011-2012. This does not include room and board, which is also going up by 3 percent ,Todd M. Ericson, vice president of finance, told Lumen.

Viterbo is not the only university to experience an increase in tuition for the upcoming academic year. UW-La Crosse will have an esti­mated 5.17 percent increase accord­ing to http://www.uwlax.edu, St. Mary’s University in Winona, Minn. will have a 3.9 percent increase accord­ing to www3.saintmarys.edu, and the College of St. Scholastica in Du­luth, Minn., will have a 2.38 percent increase according to www.ssc.edu.ph.

“In our budget deliberations, and consequent setting of tuition rates, we do review and consider the Consumer Price Index (CPI) and the Higher Education Price In­dex (HEPI) measure,” Erikson said. “We also consider affordability, and student recruitment and retention issues, including competitor tuition rates.”

“Tuition increases are necessary to fund any increases in the cost of providing instruction and other ser­vices… to ensure that Viterbo is able to continue to provide a high qual­ity education,” Ericson said. This includes increased costs in utility, personnel, and others areas.

The increased tuition is not being used to pay off the Nursing Center or Clare Apartments. Existing insti­tutional resources are funding the Clare Apartment and private do­nors are funding the Nursing Cen­ter, Ericson said.

Ten years ago, in 2002-2003, tu­ition at Viterbo was $14,020 Ericson said. With the new tuition, Viterbo has seen a 57 percent increase in tu­ition over the last 10 years with an average year-to-year increase of 4.65 percent.

The annual Consumer Price Index (CPI) in 2002 was 179.9. According to the United States Department of Labor, The Consumer Price Index is “a program that produces monthly data on changes in the prices paid by urban consumers for a represen­tative basket of goods and services.”

According to http://www.bls.gov, the annual CPI in 2011 was 224.939. The inflation rate has increased 25.03 percent in the past ten years accord­ing to inflationdata.com with an average increase of 2.45 percent per year.

The HEPI is “A more accurate indicator of changes in costs for col­leges and universities than the more familiar CPI,” according to http://www.commonfund.org. “It measures the average relative level of prices in a fixed basket of goods and services purchased by colleges and universi­ties each year through current fund educational and general expendi­tures, excluding research.”

In 2002, the HEPI index value was 212.7 and in 2011 the HEPI index value was 288.4. This means that the HEPI increased by 36 percent in the past 10 years with an average 3.3 percent increase each year.

Ericson said in an email that there are four main reasons why the CPI percentage is lower than that of the increase in Viterbo’s tuition.

The first reason that Viterbo’s tuition is more than double the in­crease in the CPI is that the addition­al revenue is needed to “recruit and retain quality personnel,” Ericson said. This involves making salaries and benefits competitive for “fac­ulty, administrators, and staff…to ensure a high-quality education and service environment for students.”

Almost 50 percent of tuition goes towards personnel expenses, such as salaries, wages, and benefits. In­stitutional Financial Aid takes 28 percent of tuition and the remaining money goes towards utilities, con­tracted services, maintenance, sup­plies, and payment of debt services Ericson said.

“Over 25 percent of the operat­ing budget is used to provide Vit­erbo scholarships and Viterbo need grants to ensure the affordability of a Viterbo education,” Ericson said. “Some institutions have allocated more monies for financial aid, to be more competitive in the recruitment of students, and also to help address student financial need as the econo­my has impacted student and fam­ily resources.”

The Financial Aid office did not give Lumen information as to how much financial aid will be increas­ing next year and who will be af­fected by it.

The third largest expenditure in the Viterbo operating budget is in technology updates.

“Innovation has meant ever-changing and ever-improving tech­nology,” Ericson said. “Students and parents have an expectation that their investments in higher ed­ucation will include access to, and use of, current technology.”

Some of the technology improve­ments will include “renewal of infrastructure (servers, switches), renewal of lab computers, renewal of classroom podium technology, addition[al] whiteboards, addition of wireless access points across cam­pus, installation of security cameras, [and] academic software purchas­es,” Ericson said.

“Finally, the regulations that con­tinue to be proposed and enacted and modified by the federal gov­ernment have caused a significant increase in administrative and compliance costs,” Ericson said. “To properly administer rules and regulations, and to ensure compli­ance, colleges and universities have had to allocate additional funds for training and personnel.”

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