Tuition approaches $50,000, follows five-year upward pattern
The Santa Clara
April 13, 2017
Spring quarter has ushered in blooming flowers, warmer weather and to the surprise of some, a tuition increase.
Beginning next school year, undergraduate tuition and housing will be raised by 4.5 and 3.75 percent respectively. According to Associate Vice President for Marketing and Communications Matt Dewey, the increase is a result of the Bay Area’s rising cost of living and the university’s efforts to maintain and hire qualified faculty.
Undergraduate tuition for the 2016-2017 academic year was $47,112. For the 2017- 2018 academic year, the cost will increase to $49,858. For a student living in standard double room in an on-campus residence hall next year, the cost of attendance could be as high as $64,582 annually.
According to CollegeTuitionCompare. com, a website that tracks housing and tuition costs at U.S. colleges and universities, the total cost of attending Santa Clara has steadily increased over the last five years. In total, since the 2012-2013 academic year, tuition has ballooned nearly $10,000.
The website has not been updated with the newly-released 2017-2018 numbers, but it demonstrates increases across the board in recent years. Between 2013 and 2017, tuition and fees have increased by 16.12 percent, on-campus living costs by 10.94 percent and and off-campus living costs by 10.12 percent.
In an April 6 campus-wide email, Interim Vice President for Finance and Administration Chris Shay informed the student body of the increased cost of attendance. In his message, he said that the prior cost of tuition funded the remodeling of residence halls such as Dunne and Mclaughlin-Walsh Halls, as well as faster wireless internet.
In addition to the increased cost of tuition and housing, Shay’s message said that students will also be paying a university enhancement fee—$625 that will be billed throughout the 2017-2018 school year. The fee will fund pedestrian pathways, technology updates, improved campus infrastructure and food services.
“(The university enhancement fee) will provide vital funds to improve the student experience, both in and out of the classroom, to ensure our ability to educate current and future generations of Santa Clara student leaders,” Shay wrote in the email.
In an email, Dewey said that tuition is determined by the University Budget Council (UBC) and approved by the Board of Trustees during a budgeting process that begins in early fall and culminates in late January.
According to the university’s website, approximately 73 percent of the undergraduate population receive some sort of assistance to fund their academic and living expenses at Santa Clara.
One individual who relies on financial aid is sophomore Kimberly Grandi. She said the news of the increase was both surprising and troubling, adding that her first reaction was to call her parents to ensure that their family could afford next year’s tuition. Fortunately, they can. But not without sacrifice.
“I have financial aid to go here, which I’m incredibly grateful for … but, I’m also incredibly dependent on it,” Grandi said. “Seeing the (increase in tuition) worries me a lot. It’ll be tough for my family but we’ll come out okay in the end. I know people who will be hit much harder.”
When asked about the measures taken to limit the tuition increase, Dewey said that over the past year, the university reduced spending through budget cuts.
“We constantly strive to minimize student costs while maintaining a worldclass educational experience,” Dewey said in an email. “Over the past year, there have been targeted budget reductions and costs savings to ensure that tuition increases are kept to a minimum.”
Dewey wrote that financial aid for the 2017-2018 academic year will also increase, but he did not specify by how much.
Grandi added that she thinks the university is neglecting the needs of students reliant on financial assistance.
“This makes me feel that the school is not putting its students’ interests first,” Grandi said. “We’re a rich school and a lot of people can afford to go here, but there’s people like me and my friends who can’t.”
According to Dewey, raising the cost of attendance is integral to a competitive and comprehensive college education.
“The tuition increase is necessary to maintain and enhance our world-class educational experience,” Dewey said. “(The university) must ensure that students at Santa Clara have experiences and opportunities that prepare them for success throughout their lives.”
Though appreciative of her received financial assistance, Grandi would like to see greater disclosure of financial matters to students.
“(I) just want more transparency between (the students) and the administration, specifically with finances. I want to know where my money is going to,” Grandi said. “I’m also incredibly grateful for the scholarships that they have given me. That being said, there’s always room for improvement.”
Contact Bella Rios at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (408) 554-4852. News editor Jenni Sigl contributed to this report.