The Yale College term bill will increase 3.5 percent — slightly more than hikes in recent years — to $34,030 for the 2001-02 academic year, Yale President Richard Levin announced yesterday.
The raised fee, which covers the total cost of tuition and room and board, ends a three-year streak of 2.9 percent term bill increases. While the 3.5 percent hike is higher than in the recent past, the jump is on par with Yale’s peer institutions and still significantly lower than term bill surges of the early 1990s.
Levin cited several budget constraints to explain the rise, including a slightly higher rate of inflation that prevented a smaller increase.
“It’s an adjustment to economic realities,” Levin said.
Provost Alison Richard, Yale’s chief academic and financial officer, said the term bill increase is typically calculated by adding one percent to the rate of inflation. But more recently, the University has tacked on only one half of one percent.
The Consumer Price Index, a standard measure of inflation, increased 3.4 percent during 2000. Yale uses a more complicated formula to gauge inflation, and University officials are currently working with a three percent inflation figure, explaining the 3.5 percent increase.
“That’s not to say [the inflation factor] makes it a mechanical decision,” Richard said.
In all, Yale undergraduates will pay $1,150 more than the $32,880 assessed during the current academic year. Of the $34,030 in total fees next year, $26,100 will be for tuition, with room and board costing $7,930.
“We’re making Yale better every year and to do that, we need to be able to invest,” Richard said. “These are still modest increases in the term bill that we think are reasonable.”
Despite the increase, the amount of money students are expected to contribute to their college costs — known as self help — will remain unchanged. This is the second consecutive year the University froze the self help portion of financial aid.
In January, Princeton University announced a fee increase of three percent to $33,316 along with its blockbuster “no-loan” undergraduate financial aid policy. Brown University and Dartmouth College raised their term bills 3.7 percent and 3.8 percent respectively.
Stanford, facing high operating costs in its Silicon Valley location, announced a 5.4 percent increase in its undergraduate charges.
Income from the term bill is a major component of Yale’s operating budget, accounting for 22 percent of revenue. Other chief sources of income are grants, contract money and endowment spending. Recent endowment growth has caused its share of Yale’s total operating revenue to increase to 25 percent last year.
Endowment income has expanded the budget, and administrators forecasted surpluses last year, but new fiscal constraints are escalating. High energy costs will force the University to cough up several more million dollars than would usually be anticipated. Much of the predicted surplus was spent on need-blind financial aid for international students and on reducing incoming class sizes.
Making matters more difficult, a heavily competitive market for faculty has driven up salaries.
“We’ve seen strong competitive pressure in faculty salaries,” Levin said. “It has been another year of larger than expected faculty salary expenditures.”
Even though the term bill increase was higher than in very recent years, many officials remember exorbitant hikes a decade ago when the University struggled financially and inflation rates were higher. In 1990-91, Yale announced a whopping 7.8 percent increase in fees. When Levin began his tenure as president in 1993, annual increases still hovered near 6 percent.