The Board of Trustees passed its first $1 billion budget for fiscal years 2012 and 2013, which includes a 3.8 percent increase in undergraduate tuition, the lowest rate of tuition growth in 15 years.
Tuition will be $37,554 for the 2011-2012 school year and $38,982 for 2012-2013. Tuition for the current 2010-2011 academic year is $36,180.
Vice Chairman Jeff Sine said the Board increased the tuition by a smaller rate to make AU more affordable to students and maintain AU’s educational reputation.
“There’s a conscious attempt by administration to try to keep those rates as low as possible given the economy and given the fact that we want to still represent a great educational value,” Sine said.
Washington College of Law and graduate tuition, excluding the Kogod School of Business program, will also increase by 3.8 percent each year, according to Senior Budget Officer Tom Ingold.
The national average tuition increase for private schools and universities is 4.5 percent for the 2010-2011 academic school, an increase from the 4.3 percent tuition increase in 2009-2010, according to the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities.
The average tuition at private colleges was $26,273 for the 2009-2010 academic year. AU’s 2009 tuition was $32,816 then.
The residence hall fees will increase by 1 percent for the 2011-2012 academic year and 2 percent for the 2012-2013, a smaller growth than last year’s 6 percent.
A double room in 2011-2012 will cost $4,554 per semester and $4,645 per semester in 2012-2013.
A double occupancy room in Letts, McDowell, Leonard, Hughes and Anderson Halls currently cost $4,509 per semester for the 2010-2011 academic year.
Other budget plans
The Board of Trustees approved the budget’s $60 million to strategic plan initiatives, an increase of $20 million from the FY 2010-2011. These initiatives include increasing number of faculty, proceeding with the 2011 Campus Plan and increasing sustainability.
Sine said using these funds to pursue specific strategic goals would allow AU to prosper.
“Those are the numbers that led us to invest so the University continues to achieve the kind of momentum it already has, and even accelerate, but at the same time recognizes the need to remain affordable to as many people as possible,” Sine said.
Vice President of Finance and Treasurer Don Myers said AU’s commitment to the strategic plan is “bold.”
“Many organizations have strategic plans, but do not necessarily articulate the financial investment in this form for the general public,” Myers said.
The University endowment increased by 14.6 percent from June 2010, an impressive amount from last year, according to Sine. In April 2010, the endowment was $360,635,000 according to AU’s 2009-2010 Annual Report, which would make the endowment approximately $413,287,710 today.
“We’re nearly back to our all-time-high for endowment size today,” Sine said.
The Campus Plan approval will allow AU administration continue forth with their plans for reconstruction with funds.
“[The Campus Plan is] as bold as anything AU has done in history, and it’s a critical part of the academic progress to actually have the fiscal plan that lets all that happen,” Sine said.
Clarification: Incorrect figures for graduate and Washington College of Law tuition increases were provided to The Eagle. This version has been corrected.