By Duane Paul Murphy
Students at the Catholic University of America will pay a 3.6% increase in tuition, room, board and fees for the 2017-2018 academic school year. For most of the undergraduate programs, the tuition will be $43,300. The 3.6% increase was approved by the University’s Board of Trustees.
Last year in April, the Board of Trustees raised tuition, room, board and student fees for the 2016-2017 academic year by 3.8% in comparison to the 2017-2018 academic year’s 3.6% in-crease. The increase for the 2016-2017 school year was enacted in order to expand and renovate the school’s campus infrastructure as well as modernize classrooms.
Garvey addressed financial concerns as well as impacts regarding the increased tuition and costs in a letter sent January 27th, that announced the increase to the home address of students’ parents.
“I know that even a small increase in cost can have an impact on our families,” Garvey wrote in the letter. “Our senior leadership team works hard at carefully stewarding your tuition dollars, and we have a dedicated staff ready to help answer any questions you might have.”
Students on campus have expressed financial concerns for their university colleagues.
“I am very pleased that the university is expanding its academic program and starting new projects for the benefit of everyone, but, ironically, they are doing so at the expense of their stu-dents, who already are struggling with the current tuition,” said sophomore philosophy major Jerry Santiago.
“I, personally, am blessed that I have sufficient financial support that the increase is not an immediate complication, but I cannot say the same for many of my peers, whose entire college life may be affected by this increase. I have seen a good number of my friends leave the university because they cannot “afford to stay anymore” and I fear the same may happen next year.”
Others who have expressed concerns question the structure of the university’s overall budget.
“What I see in the ever-increasing tuition prices across the country is a constant reliance on the willingness of young people, like ourselves, to pay more and more for a product in which we get nothing, if not less, for our investment,” said sophomore English and drama double major Christopher Doyle. “While President Garvey’s letter delineates that the funds go to new faculty and new major programs, I wonder why it could not be done by instead reorganizing the budget around the new expenditures instead of around the promise of increased funds out of our pockets.”
The university has announced an expansion of academic research as well as enhancement of campus spaces during this academic year. The expansions in academic research include an additional hiring of 45 new faculty members, the creation of a dual degree in business and music, a classical architecture concentration, a certificate for Spanish Language and Hispanic Ministry, and a new program in intelligence studies. The enhancements of the campus itself involve the construction of a dining area in the Murphy’s student lounge.