The Student News Site of Macalester College

The Mac Weekly

The Student News Site of Macalester College

The Mac Weekly

The Student News Site of Macalester College

The Mac Weekly

High tuition hikes are likely 'behind us'

By April DeJarlais

The tuition increase for Macalester’s 2010-11 school year will be determined in January and is likely to be between 4 percent and 8 percent, said David Wheaton, vice president for financial affairs. In recent years the college has raised tuition by roughly 5 percent annually, with last year seeing a 4.5 percent increase.Next year could see up to an 8.5 percent increase, Wheaton said, though he doubts it will reach that level.

“I think those very high increases are behind us,” he said.

However, he added, “There is no way to tell what will happen in the [higher education] industry.”

A July 2009 Star Tribune report said Minnesota private college tuition increases are at the lowest rate since 1978. President Brian Rosenberg contributed to the report, and said “private colleges . are trying both to cut their expenses and provide more aid to students. In the end, it’s not an unhealthy exercise to go through.”

Private schools are seeing less severe increases than public schools. Students attending schools in the University of California system recently protested a proposed 32 percent tuition increase for the 2010 fall semester, which would raise tuition (not including other expenses) to $10,302. The national average increase for public universities is 6.5 percent.

Private colleges have higher tuition with high rates of financial aid.

Macalester’s tuition this year was $38,174, with an average first-year need-based financial award of $31, 838. Private colleges’ business models prevent having low tuition, since a main source of revenue for private schools is tuition (along with endowments and philanthropy).

Macalester froze faculty salaries this year, but the college “can’t keep doing that,” Wheaton said.

Freezing tuition would mean severe cuts in other sectors of the Macalester environment. The number of faculty and staff on campus would need to shrink, and the college has no plans to cut employees.

“This [private college] is a people-intensive business,” Wheaton said. “We want to continue to do all the things on campus that students expect.

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