Tuition increase second lowest in 20 years

Tuition increase second lowest in 20 years

by Allison McNealStaff Writer

Tuition is on the forefront of students’ and faculty members’ minds because of the looming economy and its impact at Simpson College.

In order to keep up with the economy, the college is expecting a 3.9 percent increase in tuition for 2009-2010. With this increase, the comprehensive cost of attending the college is expected to be $32,994, compared to $31,759 last year. Tuition will make up $25,366, with a standard meal plan at $3,776, standard room and board for $3,485, and student fees at $267. Along with these fees, there will also be $100 towards a new campus center.

Despite the initial increase in tuition fees, Ken Birkenholtz, vice president for business and finance, said that Simpson is having the second lowest increase in 20 years.

According to President Byrd, keeping tuition low is a priority.

“We tried to keep tuition as low as possible so we can provide the same academic needs and quality that students should have,” Byrd said.

To stay ahead of the economy, the college is also proposing a model that will take place in fall 2009.

According to President Byrd, this model will help maintain and provide a back-up plan for the college.

“When we put together the budget, there are variables that we don’t plan for and don’t know exactly what they’re going to be,” Byrd said. “We want to have a model that will anticipate the coming changes with the economy. Next year we might not have the expected number of students, and we have to be ready for that.”

Although the college is not sure of what the exact enrollment will be, Byrd maintains a positive outlook on the situation.

“Although we don’t know for sure what the impact of the economy or inflation will have on enrollment, we do have control over cutting costs,” Byrd said.

Cutting certain costs could help out those who are concerned with this increase in tuition.

Freshman Trisha Schroeder is one student who is skeptical about how the economy will affect the enrollment rate.

“I know when I first went to Simpson that tuition was a big part of my decision,” Schroeder said. “So if tuition is increasing, I can see why some incoming freshmen would really want to sit down and think about going to a private college.”

Freshman Abby Heim agreed with Schroeder, but pointed out that students choose to go to private colleges.

“Students that go to a private college know they will be paying more, so it shouldn’t be such a huge factor if tuition is raised,” said Heim.

Schroeder also said that the lack of student loans could influence the enrollment rate.

“I know I’m going to be in debt when I get done with college, like any other college student will be,” Schroeder said. “However, I shouldn’t have to worry about that right now because I should be able to take out student loans. If student loans are being cut, it will be harder to afford going to college.”

Sophomore Paul Scaletta also feels the impact of the economy and rising tuition.

“It’s not really surprising that Simpson is increasing tuition during these hard economic times,” Scaletta said. “As the tuition rates go up, I think it might be more appealing for students to attend community colleges first and then transfer to a four year institution.”

As tuition increases and more questions are being raised, President Byrd wants students to be reassured about the situation. Byrd will be hosting a forum event devoted to tuition costs on April 15.

“Even though we are having this 3.9 percent increase, students shouldn’t have to be worried about their education,” Byrd said. “The quality of education will still stay strong at Simpson, no matter what impact the economy has on the college.”