Undergraduate tuition rates for the 2017-2018 academic year will rise from $49,968 to $51,720, a 3.5 percent increase over the previous year, according to a campuswide email sent by University Provost Robert Groves yesterday.
The increase comes after a strong student reaction to previous hikes, including the creation of protest group Hoyas Against the Hike in September.
Groves said tuition increases were necessary to meet the university’s funding demands.
“In setting tuition rates, we must balance the competing needs of academic programs, students, faculty, staff, facilities and infrastructure,” Groves said. “We are actively working to minimize tuition increases, and we maintain our deep commitment to attracting the brightest students regardless of their financial circumstances.”
Along with the tuition charge increase, Groves wrote, the university will implement modest increases to room and board charges.
The university has increased tuition every year since 2012. In recent years, the rate of increase has slowed: this year’s 3.5 percent hike follows a 4 percent increase in 2016 and a 4.3 percent increase in 2015. The hike also undercuts earlier university expectations of a steady four percent annual increase through 2020.
Tuition has increased 22 percent from the 2012-2013 academic year to the 2017-2018 academic year.
Georgetown University Student Association President Enushe Khan (MSB ’17) said this year’s hike may be unpopular, but are necessary and minimal.
“Realistically speaking, no one wants to see their tuition go up. That being said, understanding our financial strains — especially with our need for renovations, for example — increases in staff, things that the student body would tangibly benefit from with an increase,” Khan said. “I think, based on engagement with Provost Groves, that he was committed to keeping tuition as low as possible. The university seems to be on the same page as students.”
After last year’s hike, Khan and GUSA Vice President Chris Fisk (COL ’17) wrote an article for The Hoya in August 2016 criticizing the administration for a “lack of transparency” in approving the rate increase “without the consultation of any students.” They also called for administrators to “address the ongoing trend of tuition hikes” in a town hall with students.
In response to the article and significant student opposition, administrators participated in a Hoya Roundtable discussion hosted by GUSA in November.
Groves told students at the event that tuition hikes were a necessary response to the university’s funding requirements. He pointed to Georgetown’s relatively small endowment as contributing to the university’s reliance on tuition funds. Georgetown’s $1.5 billion endowment is smaller than other top-ranked universities — Notre Dame has a $10.4 billion endowment, while Duke has an endowment of around $7.3 billion.
Groves also highlighted student-focused uses of tuition funds, including construction projects and improvement to residential buildings.
Khan said Groves’ email shows a positive step by the university towards increasing transparency around tuition increases.
“This is something that’s a big win for students to finally see some transparency,” Khan said. “That’s been a really big frustration. I think the university has been more willing to engage thanks to student activism and advocacy on this. At least from the GUSA end, we’ve been working really hard on this, so it’s just great to see an outcome.”
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