Future holds tuition increase


by Angela Niesz

With the tuition increase for the 2011-12 school year, a student could buy a brand new 13-inch MacBook Pro and still have almost $300 left over.

There is a 4.25 percent increase in tuition overall, which works out to be $805 per semester.

Ken Birkenholtz, vice president for business and finance, was well informed on the reasons for the increase and what was actually increasing.

“The tuition fees, housing, room and board, is going up 4.25 percent,” Birkenholtz said. “We are, in addition to that, implementing a technology fee which will be $150 per year or $75 per semester for full-time students. There will probably also be a per credit hour charge for technology for part-time students.”

Birkenholtz made it clear as to what the tuition increase would actually amount to.

“The tuition will be $27,568,” Birkenholtz said. “The comprehensive fee with the standard room, standard board, technology fee, student government fee and the campus center fee will be $36,086.”

Simpson College President John Byrd explained just exactly what the technology fee would help cover.

“It will help us cover the increasing costs of technology on our campus,” Byrd said. “Last year, we completed a project to take our campus to a completely wireless environment, and just recently, we started rolling out mobile applications.”

Compared to other colleges Simpson is behind on charging the technology fee.

“It’s pretty common anymore to have a technology fee,” Birkenholtz said. “We’ve looked at a lot of other schools, and most other schools are charging a technology fee.”

Simpson’s technology fee is going to be less than most of those colleges.

“Quite a number of them are more than $150,” Birkenholtz said.

Although the technology fee was added, some other fees have been taken away.

“We did, at the same time, eliminate the graduation fee ($75), and we are no longer going to charge for transcripts ($5),” Birkenholtz said. “It didn’t generate a lot of money, and it was probably more trouble than it was worth and probably more aggravation for folks who were trying to get transcripts. We just decided everybody would be happier if we got rid of it.”

Compared to recent years, the tuition increase is about the same.

“Two years ago it was 3.9 percent and that was coming right after the year of the market crash,” Birkenholtz said. “I think it was 4.25 percent last year, but we added the $70 laundry fee.”

This year’s tuition increase hasn’t yet been affecting prospective student’s decisions on whether to attend the college or not.

Jeremy Johnson, assistant director of admissions, had some input on that.

“I think the students we recruit see the educational value that Simpson provides,” Johnson said. “And the majority of students are choosing a college for reasons other than the cost.”

According to Johnson, early enrollment is actually up so far this year.

“This year, all indications are that we have a good recruiting year going,” Johnson said. “Our applications are up, and we are hoping for a record enrollment. Hopefully, we’ll know more within the next couple of months.”