Next year’s tuition increase is second lowest in 30 years
THE SANTA CLARA
April 23, 2015
To shed light on the allocation of student tuition dollars, the Associated Student Government sponsored a presentation about the budgeting process on April 15.
According to Vice President for Finance and Administration Michael Hindery, a 12-member committee consisting of faculty and staff members appointed annually determines how university funds are allocated. These funds are acquired through tuition, student fees, donations, gifts and endowment income.
The majority of this income comes from undergraduate and graduate tuition. For the 2014-2015 fiscal year, about 75 percent of the $417 million budget came from this source.
Hindery explained that it’s difficult to determine where exactly tuition dollars go. They go into a pot of money known as unrestricted funds. There are very few limitations on how this money can be used.
“It’s hard to answer the question, ‘how much of my money goes to x?’” he said. “We simply don’t track money like that.”
For example, it is impossible to determine the percentage of a student’s tuition payment that goes toward faculty salary or the percentage that goes towards groundskeeping.
He also emphasized the importance of differentiating between cost and price. While the current tuition rate for the 2014-2015 academic year is $43,812, the cost to educate an individual student is, in actuality, much higher. The university relies on outside donations and endowment income to make up for this disparity.
Always a contentious issue, Hindery also discussed next year’s 3.4 percent rise in tuition and 3.9 percent rise in housing costs. Though increases such as these occur every year, he stressed that the 3.4 figure was the second lowest increase in three decades.
Some of that new revenue will be used to increase faculty salaries, which have remained stagnant since 2008.
ASG President Anaisy Tolentino asked Hindery to comment on the validity of the common complaint that “50 percent of tuition goes to keeping the lawns green.”
Hindery said this was exaggerated assumption is far from the truth.
“I’m not sure what the exact number is, but it’s nowhere near 50 percent,” he said. “Our facilities budget is really only a few percentage points of our whole budget.”
Contact Nicolas Sonnenburg at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (408) 554-4852.