The Board of Trustees responded to the economic crunch by announcing last week that it will implement the smallest tuition increase at Temple in 13 years.
Amid a 5 percent, or $40 million, budget cut for the 2009-2010 academic year, the board announced tuition will be raised by 2.9 percent.
Most full-time undergraduate students will pay $11,174 per academic year for in-state tuition, $306 more than they paid this year. Out-of-state students will pay $20,454 for the year, a $576 increase.
For sophomore biology major Josh Hummel, tuition rates played a significant role in his decision to come to Temple.
“I got into both the University of Pittsburgh and Drexel, but the tuition was outrageous,” he said.
The comparatively low tuition rate increase of this year, though, garnered no sympathy from Hummel, as he explained his dissatisfaction with the increase through a metaphor.
“It’s like rent,” he said. “Whatever I’m paying this year, if I’m renewing my lease, it should be the same amount next year.”
Other students said they were more inclined to accept the situation at Temple.
“I don’t think anyone likes tuition increases,” junior photography major Yugeniy Zhuk said. “But it can’t really be helped because of the financial crises.”
An increase in funding for financial aid is also part of next year’s budget.
University officials described the $21 million increase as “the largest infusion of new funds for financial aid in Temple’s history.” It will be a 10 percent increase in financial aid per year for the next three academic years.
Zhuk said he hopes he will be able to receive some financial aid when more funds become available. He hasn’t qualified for it in the past and, like many students, faces the burden of a part-time job.
“The recession has taken a great toll on families, many of whom are very concerned about their ability to send their children to college,” Board of Trustees Chairman Daniel Polett said. “We hope that the financial aid we have made available will make it easier for these hardworking students to realize their educational goals at Temple.”
President Ann Weaver Hart addressed the Board of Trustees at Sullivan Hall Thursday afternoon shortly before the board unanimously voted to pass the budget for the next academic year.
“When we begin to stretch our dollar, Hart puts the students first,” Polett said.
The recent decision on the budget came roughly two months ahead of schedule. Ordinarily, the budget is completed in June, shortly before the start of the fiscal year on July 1.
This was done to assist students and their families who may be having financial difficulties, university officials said.
“For students, tuition increases play a huge part for them in staying in school,” Hart said.
Junior accounting major Sean Moynihan said he believes a higher tuition rate at a time when the cost of all other necessities is going up would be too much for some students to handle. He said a freeze on tuition increases would be a good idea.
Temple is a state-related school, as are Penn State University, the University of Pittsburgh and Lincoln University. With similar financial burdens brought on by a decrease in state funding, all of state-related universities are facing higher tuition rates for their students.
The increase in financial aid and the relatively low tuition increases were made with the students in mind, Hart said.
“We have passed a budget that serves our most important and most deserving stakeholder, our students,” she said, “by keeping a Temple education more affordable.”
Tim McCullough can be reached at email@example.com.