The Yale College term bill for next year will increase 3.9 percent to $35,370 for next year, Yale President Richard Levin announced today.

The University raises the total cost of tuition and room and board every year, but this year’s increase is the most significant in four years. The fee hike comes largely in response to the implementation of Yale’s new financial aid policy for next year.

In 2001, the University announced a 3.5 percent increase after a three-year period of consecutive 2.9 percent increases. Still, this year’s raise is considerably less than the escalations of the early 1990s.

“Our costs go up every year, and we have the slowest rate of growth of term bill in the Ivy League over the past decade, but we have increased it every year,” Levin said.

Levin added that Yale’s increase this year is lower than all of the Ivy League schools that have already announced their term bill increases for next year.

Cornell announced a 5 percent tuition increase in late January. Outside the Ivies, Stanford increased its term bill by 4.9 percent this year.

Next year, Yale’s tuition bill will be $27,130, an increase of $1,030, and next year’s bill for room and board will be $8,240, an increase of $310. This year’s term bill was $34,030.

The new financial aid policy will also come into effect next year and University officials say it will reduce the average financial aid student’s expected contribution by $3,445 a year. In addition, the amount of money financial aid students are expected to pay for themselves through term or summer time work and loans will decrease.

These financial changes will add around $7.5 million to the University’s financial aid budget, which Yale officials estimate will be around $34 million next year. Levin said the term bill increase will not compensate for the higher cost of the new aid program.

“An increase of this magnitude doesn’t even cover the increase in financial aid. All of our cost elements will go upward,” Levin said. “We do need to raise the term bill to keep pace. With financial aid included, that number is understood.”

Although the University strives to keep the rate of increase fairly constant, Provost Alison Richard, Yale’s chief academic and financial officer, said changes to the financial aid system and commitments to improve the undergraduate experience with projects like residential college renovations made the increase necessary.

“It was a shared determination to continue to lead the pack in moderating the rate of increase in the term bill and just to recognize we’re making huge investments in the cost of undergraduate education in other ways,” Richard said. “This is a very modest increase in this context.”

Richard added that the sluggish economy had little effect on the decision.