Following a nearly nine-month-long budget impasse, undergraduate tuition is expected to increase between 2 to 3 percent when the fall semester begins, officials said. The Board of Trustees will vote on an increase at its July 12 meeting.
Last year, the board passed a 2.8 percent tuition increase for both in-state and out-of-state students, following a 3.69 percent increase in 2014 and a 1 percent increase in 2013.
The Temple News reported in July 2015 that the university has increased its tuition by an average 2.4 percent during the past three years.
University CFO and Treasurer Ken Kaiser said the increase is most likely going to be “2-point-something [percent]” when the board votes.
“What we do is we take a look at how our expenses change and grow, and based on how the costs change, tuition increases,” Kaiser said. “The costs of the university are mainly driven by people, whether that’s through salary increases, cost of benefits, utilities and any new initiatives.”
Kaiser added the university would first look to make cuts in the budget before increasing tuition. Since 2010, the budget has been cut by $113 million through academic, administration and department cuts as well as layoffs, he said.
“There’s always a salary push. For the last four to five years some unions didn’t get salary increases,” Kaiser said of the 11 unions on campus, which negotiate contracts with the university every four years.
One method to save money the university uses is negotiating new contracts with vendors to reduce costs, said David Glezerman, assistant vice president of the university’s bursar office.
“We’d rather have more belt-tightening than increase tuition,” Glezerman said. He added some universities have tried increasing tuition halfway through the year, only to face problems later.
“People plan for the whole year, sometimes for the four years,” he said. “Then you go to families and say, ‘You had to pay x, but now you have to pay x plus 2 percent.’ We’ll cut expenses before we increase tuition in the middle of the year.”
Kaiser said the university also looks for additional sources of revenue from the state, alumni donation and a faster recovery rate on research.
“Fundraising is a big part, last year we had more than $80 million [donated],” he said. “What really helps is when people give for our endowment because we can get revenue. I mean, just look at the schools with endowments that are billions of dollars. The more we have in our endowment, the more we can do.”
Temple currently has an endowment of $372 million, while other city universities University of Pennsylvania and Drexel University have endowments of more than $9 billion and $660 million respectively.
Both Kaiser and Glezerman said yearly tuition increases are expected.
“Tuition is going to increase every year,” Kaiser said. “We just make sure it’s manageable and try to minimize it. If costs go up every year, tuition goes up as well.”
“Unless there’s a major change, the expectation is that tuition goes up every year,” Glezerman said. “I wouldn’t say it’s a non-event. But it’s accepted, sometimes not well-accepted.”
Julie Christie can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @ChristieJules.