Boston University students enjoyed a traditional holiday season this year — complete with the annual tuition hike.
Overall expenses increased by 4 percent, as tuition increased from $25,872 to $27,042, and basic room and board rose from $8,750 to $8,978. The total cost for the 2002-03 school year is $36,020, compared to a cost of $34,622 for 2001-02.
The increases were announced in a letter from Board of Trustees Chairman Richard DeWolfe sent over Winter Break.
“We try to keep the tuition rate as low as possible,” said University Executive Vice President Joseph Mercurio. “We had to make a decision to reduce our expense rate, and to recommend an increase to deal with growth.”
Mercurio said the school’s location in Boston also has an influence on tuition. For 2000, the city’s Consumer Price Index was 4.9 percent, compared to the national average of 3.9 percent. The CPI measures inflation.
“Besides the average salary increases of staff, you also have to add normal inflationary items like supplies, books, food and insurance,” Mercurio said. “However, you can never measure the inflationary effect with complete precision.”
Other expenditures listed in the letter include construction for science buildings and an athletic complex. Mercurio added another expense — picking up discontinued state scholarships.
“The state recently cut back on Massachusetts grant money for many students,” Mercurio said. “BU is filling in the money for our students. It will cost us $400,000 for this year alone.”
“It’s definitely justified for BU to take on those costs,” said College of Fine Arts senior Alexandra Fol. “It doesn’t matter if out-of-state students pay; kids are kids.”
While some students thought the increase was justified, many students were unhappy with the overall increase in tuition.
“None of the developments they’re building are going to affect me,” said Rebecca Spiro, CFA freshman. “I’ll never experience them, so I don’t care.”
Alex Bachrach, a sophomore in the College of Engineering, agreed.
“I don’t think I’ll ever see the new athletic facility,” he said. “I’m paying so people four years from now will enjoy it. That’s not fair.”
Bachrach was also unsure if BU’s education was worth its price tag.
“My professors are good, but I don’t know if they’re worth $28,000,” he said.
“I’ve had so many grad students teaching my classes,” Spiro said. “As lovely as it is, I don’t enjoy paying to educate someone else.”
However, ENG freshman Lindsay Shade said the lofty cost of a BU education has been justified to this point.
“I’ve had very good professors so far,” she said. “It’s expensive, but well worth it.”
College of Arts and Sciences sophomore Anu Pokharel agreed although BU was expensive, its advantages outweighed the costs.
“The basic room and board rate is pretty bad — you could get a better apartment off campus for what you pay for a dorm room,” he said. “But that also doesn’t include cooking, and the location won’t be as good as a room here.
“Overall, the increase doesn’t seem ridiculous.”
Spiro suggested if BU continues to raise tuition costs, potential students might be driven away.
“Students will go elsewhere if BU doesn’t increase scholarships as well,” she said. “They need to make it very clear that scholarships are available.”
Ashley Freeman, a CAS freshman, said BU did not have to worry about losing applicants.
“BU still has a good reputation as a quality school, and there are many outside scholarships students can get as well,” she said.
“If costs were going to drive people away, it would have happened already,” Shade agreed.