It’s time to give credit where credit is due and commend the university for instituting its lowest tuition hike in 13 years, along with a plan to increase the financial aid budget of the next three years.
The Board of Trustees implemented the tuition increase two months earlier than usual in order to better prepare students and parents in what is already a dismal economy. The 2.9 percent increase is the lowest since Fiscal Year 1997, when tuition for Pennsylvania residents rose 2.3 percent.
This means that come its Fall 2009 semester, in-state students will pay $11,174 per year, compared to the previous year’s $10,858. For out-of-state students, the tuition price will go from $19,878 to $20,454 per year.
The tuition increase coincides with a plan to “significantly increase the university’s financial aid budget.” Both come at a crucial time, as Temple is currently in a hiring freeze, employees are facing potential layoffs and American Federation of State, County, and Municipality Employees and the Temple Association of University Professionals are embroiled in contract negotiations that could result in a strike.
Despite the economic trials, administrators speculate an additional $21 million dollars in funding will go toward student financial aid over the next three years – Temple’s largest funding addition in history.
Administrators said the small tuition increase and addition funding were made possible by wise financial decisions and cost cutting. The overall budget for FY 2010 will be 5 percent – about $40 million – lower than the previous year’s.
It would be easy to criticize Temple for increasing tuition at a time when people all over the country are facing economic hardships they’ve never before dealt with. For some, attending college is becoming more of a pipe dream than a reality, due in large part to the cost. But the reality is Temple’s tuition is already significantly lower than other schools’ tuitions in the area.
At La Salle University, tuition for 2007-2008 was $29,200. A four-year education will cost more than $35,000 a year at Drexel University and more than $32,000 a year at St. Joseph’s University. Pennsylvania residents pay more than $13,000 every year to attend Penn State’s University Park campus.
Relatively speaking, Temple’s tuition rates are considerably lower than comparable universities, and the plan to increase the financial aid budget will only soften the blow.
Temple should be applauded for its efforts to help students get a first-class education as affordably as possible.