University Sells Tuition-Hike as Competitive Edge, Saying Others Are More Expensive
The trend of rising tuition continues, and George Washington University (GWU) is no exception, reported the DCist. The University announced it would raise tuition costs to $58,488, a 3.3 percent increase in tuition and almost double what the students at GWU paid a decade ago. University administrators defended tuition-increase, claiming that other universities have higher tuition rates, and that their tuition increases are both steadier and lower than competitors' prices.
GWU was the first university in the country to break the $50,000 mark in 2007. Even with the relatively slow increases, tuition was still $16,679 higher than the average four-year private school in the 2012-2013 academic year. Executive Vice President and Treasurer Lou Katz said increasing tuition costs is a balancing act that includes maintaining sufficient aid funding while still ensuring students from different backgrounds have access to college. Katz emphasized that GWU is one of the only colleges in the country to guarantee fixed tuition and merit financial aid for undergraduates. The Board of Trustees established the fixed tuition plan in 2004, locking in a flat rate for incoming students for up to 10 semesters.
However, the fixed tuition rate for undergraduates also creates problems for GWU, because the university can't make up for lower endowment years by increasing tuition. In order to maintain the "3 percent plan" and keep tuition on pace with inflation, one should expect to see tuition costs at GWU rise to 70,000 by the year 2020.
Director of Communication for the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities, Tony Pals, said that universities are not likely to ever stop increasing tuition. “If you look at decades worth of data, you’ll see that tuition increases have never been below the rate of inflation,” Pals said. “It is simply not possible, given the nature of higher education.”
Charlie is a communications intern for Campus Progress.