By Cecilia Cress
According to an email sent by the President’s Office on April 5, full-time student tuition and fees were raised for the 2022-2023 school year, to an average of $65,877 per year.
The email states that this rise in tuition and fees “are in place to ensure that the experience we offer to students is the fullest possible, providing abundant support and opportunities for their success,” and are also due to rising food and energy costs.
According to Interim Provost and Dean of the College Dr. Michael Harvey, tuition goes towards the operating costs of the College. These include: faculty and staff salaries; electricity and water bills; the food and ingredients at Hodson Dining Hall; and more.
“All of the costs associated with offering what a good college should offer its students,” Dr. Harvey said.
“It’s a complicated balance of thinking about budgets that continues to keep things affordable for students and families to the best degree we possibly can, and also provides everything necessary that people expect from their experience,” President of the College Dr. Mike Sosulski said.
Other larger projects and costs that are directed toward improving the student experience such as renovation, improved energy efficiency in residence halls, and financial aid are not paid for via tuition, but covered by endowments and grants that the College accumulates over time.
“Every dollar we can draw out of the endowment, it’s one less dollar we have to charge tuition…or it’s one more dollar of financial aid we can provide,” Dr. Harvey said.
While the decision to raise tuition and fees was not “made lightly,” according to Dr. Harvey, this was a necessary decision made in order to bring in enough revenue to “build” the WC budget as a result of rising prices across many areas.
“Prices are rising on salaries, on health care, electricity, fuel for transportation to get students and coaches to varsity athletic games… across the board, everywhere you look, there’s more things rising,” Dr. Harvey said.
According to Dr. Sosulski, this rise in tuition is in line with other institutions similar to WC.
“The type of increases that the institution had passed along to students and families over the past four or five years had not been keeping up. That was actually one piece of our structural deficit position,” Dr. Sosulski said. “We made the decision this year to make a more realistic increase that was more in line with what our peer institutions tend to do.”
This rise in costs also includes the Student Health Fee, which rose to $500 per year, and is attributed to the resources needed to keep the community safe from COVID-19 as well as the ending of federal support funds for institutions, according to the email. These resources are mainly comprised of COVID-19 tests and testing staff.
“I’m very proud of the work we’ve done in terms of managing COVID as a threat to campus…but that hasn’t just happened automatically,” Dr. Harvey said. “A lot of people have spent a lot of hours, and there has been significant federal support for that spending. But looking into the next year, a lot of that support is ending.”
Any students with questions or concerns about the tuition increase should reach out to the financial aid office.
“Don’t just assume that because you can’t pay the bill, it’s over. We want students to succeed, and we will do everything we can to help students succeed,” Dr. Harvey said. “I can’t guarantee that we’ll solve every problem but I guarantee we will listen to every person and think really hard about solutions.”