Tuition set for '07 – '08

Tuition will increase 4.1 percent for current students beginning in fall 2007, according to a February 16 university press release. Students who entered Carnegie Mellon in 2003, 2004, or 2005 will pay $34,405 for the 2007 – 2008 academic year, while those who entered in 2006 will pay $35,580.

Tuition for students entering next fall will be $36,950, up 8.1 percent from last year’s rate.

Despite rising costs, more students are applying to Carnegie Mellon. As of the beginning of February, Carnegie Mellon had received a record 22,052 applications, a 19.2 percent increase over last year, the press release stated.

The difference in tuition rates among classes is due to the university’s tiered tuition system, a pricing strategy that was implemented 10 to 12 years ago, said William Elliott, Carnegie Mellon’s vice president for enrollment. This year’s sophomores, juniors, and seniors entered while tuition prices were static, so students who entered in all three years paid the same price. This year’s first-years came in at a higher tuition cost, and will continue to pay more than their older counterparts, since the rate of increase is the same for students of all years.

“The tuition increase has a bigger impact on current students than on incoming students,” Elliott said. While current students have already invested a significant amount in Carnegie Mellon, he explained, incoming students have not yet committed to a school and can decide to accept or reject Carnegie Mellon’s offer in favor of a less or more expensive school.

However, despite the increase, the price of tuition alone does not cover the full cost of educating a Carnegie Mellon student. Each full-time student costs the university an average of $54,500 a year, according to the press release. University fundraising — including the capital campaign, the annual fund, and the endowment — covers the remaining charges.

“We’ve had to say no to some things that we think would benefit the university,” Elliott said. “While our endowment is large, it’s modest compared with our competitors’.”

Unrelated to tuition cost, room and board costs will also increase 4.1 percent, to $5663 and $3997, respectively.

“The majority of cost issues in housing and dining are inflationary this year,” said Tim Michael, assistant vice president for Campus Services. “We are also trying to catch up with large utility increases that have outpaced inflation over the last three years.”

In addition, Michael said, the increase will fund renovations and repairs to housing and dining facilities and compensate for the increased price of fruits and vegetables as a result of the winter impact on California and Florida growing markets.

“All fee increases each year are recommended with an eye toward both necessary expense increases and how those increases affect the total cost of attendance for students,” Michael said. “Typically we constrain our requests to try to minimize the overall impact of the total increase year to year. So in trying to manage the increase in total cost of attendance, I’m not surprised that some tuition increases and the housing/dining increase were similar in percentage.”

In addition to the cost of general operations next year, the increase will fund the planned Tartans’ Pavilion at Resnik (phase two of the Carnegie Mellon Café) and the potential enlargement and relocation of Entropy.

In combined tuition, room, and board costs, next fall’s incoming first-year students will pay a total of $46,610. In comparison, current first-year students paid $43,458 overall for the 2006–2007 academic year, and current sophomores, juniors, and seniors paid $42,329. Next year, students in these groups will pay $45,240 and $44,065, respectively.