The Falcon | Volume 83, Issue 51
Published 5/15/13 | Log In
Students pay $1,746 MORE NEXT YEAR
By CORY MINDERHOUT, News Editor
Published: February 20, 2013
After a Board of Trustees budget meeting that Provost Jeff Van Duzer described as a balancing act, President Daniel J. Martin announced a 5.5 percent tuition increase to $33,444.
“Every variable connects,” Van Duzer said about next year’s budget that was announced Tuesday. “If you tinker with something over here, it affects something over there.”
“We are attentive to the position [a tuition increase] puts our students in,” said Van Duzer, who started as provost this quarter, referring to the tuition hike of $1,746.
Martin, who was out of town and unavailable for comment, sent an email to students saying the extra tuition would partially go towards an 11.2 percent, or $4.8 million, increase in scholarships and grants.
Room and board costs will go up next year by $375 for students with an unlimited meal plan and traditional dorm hall room shared with one other student.
The mandatory technology fee will go up by $3, to $129. The fee is used for software and classroom upgrades and technology support, according to the school website.
The mandatory Associated Students of Seattle Pacific fee of $240 will stay the same, Martin said in an email to students.
Martin pointed out in his email that U.S. News and World Report ranked SPU as the second-best value for universities in the West for 2012.
“Our goal is always to make the price you pay as reasonable and competitive as possible for the high quality education we have to offer,” Martin said in his email.
The salary pool for faculty and staff will increase by 3 percent next year, Martin said in an email to staff and faculty.
Van Duzer said it’s important that Seattle Pacific’s tuition compares to other similar universities. It’s not necessarily better to charge less than other schools, he said.
“There would be pluses and minuses,” he said. “One of the advantages is that we would be more affordable.” Van Duzer said lowering tuition would make it more difficult to provide a quality education.
Last year, tuition increased from $29,976 to $31,701 — a 5.75 percent increase. Financial aid increased by 7.5 percent, or $2.98 million.
Room and board expenses increased by $361, and the technology fee increased by $3.
Construction on Irondale, a proposed 150-bed dorm hall next to Hill Hall, will start in the spring, Martin said in an email.
While Martin mentioned residence halls in his email to students about tuition, Van Duzer said Irondale was not a reason for the increase.
“The decision to move forward on Irondale had virtually no impact on our tuition decision,” Van Duzer said.
Senior Rachael Lindner said she appreciated the increase in the financial aid budget, since many students at SPU rely on financial aid.
Ninety percent of undergraduate students receive merit-based scholarships or need-based financial aid, according to the school’s website.
“I think that’s really good,” Lindner said, referring to the increase in financial aid. “[For] those who need it, it’s really great that they get it.”
Van Duzer said raising tuition and financial aid is different from not raising either. Increasing the financial aid budget extends the opportunity to attend college to students who may not have been able to afford it otherwise.
Lindner said the tuition increases she’s seen since she started at SPU four years ago have seemed significant.
Tuition was $27,450 for the 2009-2010 school year and has increased every year since.
Freshman Alexis Humphreys said she’s frustrated by the tuition increase but understands that rising costs are part of running a university.
“As a student, it’s still really frustrating,” she said.
“I know a lot of times kids complain and people complain about having to pay more,” Humphreys said. “But we get what we pay for.”
Van Duzer said the university paid close attention to the regional and national economy when deciding on tuition increases.
The unemployment rate for the Seattle, Tacoma and Bellevue area is 6.7 percent and 7.8 percent nationally, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics website.
“The economy affects the families of our students,” Van Duzer said. “There’s a concern that we remain affordable.”