As of July, Yale will no longer be the cheapest school in the Ivy League.
Tuition, room and board expenses for Yale College students will increase 3.3 percent, to $47,500 from $46,000, for the next academic year, University officials announced Tuesday. The moderate rise is in line with Yale’s recent cost hikes and also with those announced by its peer schools so far this year. But the cost of attending Princeton will undercut Yale’s bill by $480 in 2009-’10.
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For many Yale students, though, the cost of attending Yale will actually decrease as families seek financial aid in the midst of a recession. As a result, the increase in tuition is not designed to provide a major boost to Yale’s revenue.
“Yes, in a downturn we maybe need the revenue more,” University President Richard Levin explained in a recent interview. “But we’re also an institution that depends upon public trust and confidence.”
First and foremost in that effort to maintain trust, Yale officials have said, is the University’s continued commitment to financial aid. Even as budgets are slashed across the University, aid will be made available to all students who qualify next year, even if they have never before requested assistance.
The increases in financial aid instituted last year will remain in place, meaning that families earning less than $60,000 will continue to make no payments toward the cost of a Yale education. Families with higher incomes caught breaks last year, too, as Yale expanded the financial aid available to families earning up to $200,000 annually.
In total, the average cost for students on financial aid this year is $14,021. The self-help contribution for the academic term from students on financial aid will rise to about $2,600 next year.
Over 50 percent of students currently receive financial aid, though that number is expected to rise in the fall. As a result, the tuition increase only affects the families who pay full freight. But, in this recession, Levin said a steeper-than-usual cost hike might have hurt the University more.
After all, if Yale had increased tuition by a higher rate — like the 5.5 percent hike for the 2005-’06 academic year — the additional funds would do little to close Yale’s $100 million budget gap for the coming year. Tuition accounted for just 15 percent of Yale’s revenue in the current fiscal year’s budget, compared to 44 percent that comes from endowment income. (Though the value of Yale’s endowment has dropped around 25 percent during this fiscal year, next year’s payout will only fall around 10 percent because endowment spending is averaged over multiple years.)
Yale is not alone in keeping its cost increase for next year below 4 percent. Stanford University recently announced a 3.5 percent increase in tuition, room and board, bringing the total undergraduate fees for students there to $48,843. The 3.5 percent increase for undergraduates at Harvard University brings the total cost of attendance there to $48,868. Princeton students will pay just $47,020, up 2.9 percent from this year’s costs.
Tuition in Yale College next year will be $36,500, up from $35,300 this year. Room and board, which together cost $10,700 this year, will rise to $11,000.