Annual rate remains unchanged, expected to increase next year
BY JOSEPH COTTON, Campus News Editor
Undergraduate and graduate tuition rates for the 2021-22 academic year will hold steady in order to stay competitive during the ongoing COVID-19 crisis.
According to Vice President of Enrollment and Student Success Aaron Meis, the decision to keep tuition at an annual rate of $42,460 was prompted by the flux marketplace for higher education brought on by the pandemic.
“High school students are thinking about delaying college and current students are thinking about taking a semester to a year off,” Meis said. “Both groups are also very price sensitive because of the recent economic impact on their families.”
Meis also addressed the fact that perspective and current have concerns about the mode of instruction and how it has been impacted by safety protocols surrounding COVID-19.
“We’ve done a relatively good job of delivering hybrid instruction, or at least we think we have, anyway,” Meis said. “But when the pricing committee was putting together their initial recommendation, they were looking at the two groups just taking a semester off to let things return to normal.”
While tuition will remain the same, room and board will increase to $13,580 per year.
According to Phil Chick, vice president of financial administration, the university considered the decision for a long time.
“The issue was we didn’t take a price increase last year,” Chick said. “Our costs have gone up. Not drastically, but they went up around cleaning supplies in common areas… and cost increases from our food supplier that we had to cover.”
Chick continued, saying that the university really could not go two years without increasing the price of room and board.
“We didn’t take on last year. If we didn’t take on last year, we might not have taken on this year,” he said.
Chick also explained that this tuition freeze will not hold for long. Since there is no increase this year, the cost of tuition will likely increase next year.
“We’re eating it now because we didn’t raise it last year, but we’ll raise it (next fall),” Chick said. “We’ll still be a little bit behind where we would like to be, but it’s not something we expect to catch up on automatically.”
The decision to hold tuition was not only to retain students who were thinking about taking a semester off, but also an effort to help families out and remain competitive when compared to similar institutions. Meis also stated that the university has allocated more financial aid for current students as well as prospective students.
Commenting further on the financial context surrounding the decisions in regards to tuition, Meis mentioned that Xavier is a tuition-driven institution. This contrasts a more established school like Harvard that has a large endowment it can draw on.
“We have to have students to pay our bills, but we also have to make sure that our pricing is right so that we can recruit students to Xavier,” Meis said. “Additionally, we have to operate at a nominal surplus. We can’t operate at a deficit because we have to use that surplus to invest in capital, maintain our facilities and pay our debt.”
Students, while showing gratitude for the steady tuition rate, also wanted the university to consider different measures that could benefit future students.
“It’s a good thing, obviously. But I wish it was something they could normalize,” senior Jenna Messner said. “They should really consider locking in tuition for all four years. It allows people to better plan and it’s better for the environment that we are in.”
Echoing the sentiment, senior Kelly Delano noted that other schools who compete with Xavier for enrollment have tuition policies that help keep costs down for students.
“I know schools like Dayton routinely increase scholarships and financial aid as they increase tuition,” Delano said. “I was deciding between Dayton and Xavier when I was in high school, so that was something that almost pushed me (towards Dayton).”
Decisions about the cost of tuition start in Xavier Pricing Committee, which includes representatives from various offices within the university.
Members of the committee include Associate Provost and Chief Student Affairs Officer Dave Johnson, Director of Auxiliary Services Bill Moran, Associate Vice President of Enrollment Management and Student Success Kelly Pokrywka as well as Professor of Economics David Yi.
After the committee assembles a recommendation on the price of tuition, it goes to president Micheal J. Graham, S.J., for approval.
Further information about tuition and financial aid is available on the Xavier website.