On June 17, Temple’s Board of Trustees met to approve a 5.9 percent base tuition increase for the coming academic year. In-state undergraduate students’ tuition will increase by $660 to $11,834 for the year and out-of-state students’ tuition will increase by $1,208 to $21,662 for the year.
Anthony Wagner, senior vice president, chief financial officer and treasurer, explained what was considered when determining this year’s tuition increase.
“There are a lot of things that go into it; the most important thing is the increase in salaries and benefits. That’s the single biggest cost driver of the university’s budget. And a lot of that—not all of it, is driven by contractual obligations we have in our collective bargaining agreements. We do have employees that are not covered by collective bargaining this year that are slated for a salary increase as well, but the biggest chunk of the increase goes to salaries and benefits which are driven by a collective bargaining agreement,” Wagner said.
Additionally, Wagner explained how university utilities factor into this year’s tuition increase. While Wagner said Temple’s sustainability practices have actually lowered how much utilities cost, expansion is responsible for the increase in cost.
“We have increased cost of utilities. We’ve opened up several new buildings in the last couple years –the Tyler School of Art, Alter Hall [and] the Medical School building, so that’s going to cause additional utility cost. Though in general our sustainability practices are lowering our cost, we just have more square footage now.”
Wagner said the university estimates next year’s enrollment at 37,000 students.
“We did have some what I’d call discretionary increases this year, where we basically have to play catch up with the growth in enrollment that we’ve seen. We anticipate next year staying at an all time high in enrollment. We estimate our head-count at 37,000, so as part of the increase we’ll hire some additional faculty and especially some additional academic advisors, because we’ve realize we need more of those.”
Last year, the tuition increase was at a historic low 2.9 percent. In order to keep tuition low last year, the university cut its operating budget by 40 million dollars. Wagner said this year money has been reallocated into other areas to avoid additional tuition increases.
“An important thing to understand about the tuition increase is that our commonwealth appropriation is about 178.5 million dollars, a decade ago in the early 2000s it was up over 189 million, so over the last decade we’ve gone down in our commonwealth appropriations.”
Through the federal stimulus programs, Temple was able to receive additional one-time funds.
“Unfortunately, these stimulus dollars are what we consider one-time, meaning that they’re not reoccurring so we wouldn’t go out and pay salaries or benefits with those dollars, because for salaries and benefits you need reoccurring revenues,” Wagner said.
“We’re actually very concerned about what will happen in the year 2011-2012, what will happen when the federal stimulus program ends. The state has to deal with the 4 billion dollar structural deficit it has. We’re very concerned about it, what what’ll mean for Temple’s appropriation from the commonwealth.”
Wagner also said Temple will be increasing its internal financial aid, both merit-based and need-based from approximately 68 million dollars to 75 million dollars.
Additionally, the Board of Trustees announced plans to consolidate mandatory student fees, which will remain $295 per semester for full-time students. In past semesters, students were charged a separate fee for computer/technology, general activities, student facilities, recreation services and student health.
“All the mandatory fees were consolidated into one, primarily because of the installation of the new banner system, the university-wide electronic administrative system,” Wagner said. “However while they were all consolidated into one fee, all the separate parts will still have their own budget.”
Valerie Rubinsky can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.