Tuition increases are inevitable for most universities. According to the Education Data Initiative tuition inflation was 4.63% annually from 2010 to 2020. Tuition has been increasing for decades.
Some years have been better than others, but a steady increase is evident.
For most universities tuition increases are to cover inflation costs. This is so it is much easier to cover university bases without having to find other sources of income for the school.
A tuition increase was announced to the OWU community last month, from the email here is what you know. Tuition, room, and board all increasing by 3.5%, so the overall increase will be 3.5%.
This may seem like an unreasonable increase to many students, but Maura Donahue, the vice president for Finance and Administration discussed how Ohio Wesleyan’s recent tuition increases have been lower than that of other universities.
She said, “We try to keep our tuition increases low compared to our peers. In the next academic year, we will experience a significant increase in our cost of operations as a result of inflation. From the cost of property insurance, auto insurance, cyber security insurance, health care plans, sky rocking energy costs – all of these are increasing more than 3.5%. These are non discretionary; we must pay the cost. As well as the cost of living for employees. We're doing all we can to temper the tuition increase in light of our higher costs."
However, students feel that tuition increases aren’t reasonable based on life at Ohio Wesleyan. Sophomore, Fiona Minton, feels that the school hasn’t had any noticeable improvements for tuition to continue to increase like this.
“If lots of things were improving, or the university as a whole was getting better, then I would understand. However, the food and parking, for example, are still not being improved and have received a lot of complaints from current students. I really don’t think tuition deserves to be increased unless other aspects of the college do,” she stated.
Minton also feels that tuition increases can have negative financial effects on many students on campus.
She added, “I know a lot of students who rely on scholarships to go to OWU, but those scholarships don’t always account for the random increases in price, so it becomes frustrating having to pay more money out of pocket unnecessarily.”
Donahue did confirm that scholarships don’t increase as tuition increases. Financial aid a student can receive increases “if there is a change in circumstances […].” She encourages reaching out to the financial aid office if students have any concerns about their financial aid package.
Donahue recognizes that even though Ohio Wesleyan’s tuition increases are lower than many other Ohio universities, they still can affect students financially.
“Not only does the university understand this but the donors to the university do as well. Through giving to the endowments provide significant financial support for student financial aid and for university operating expenses. Donahue notes that, “It is very important for students to file a FAFSA to ensure that our financial aid officers are able to provide the most amount of assistance possible,” she stated.
It’s difficult to find a perfect solution for tuition on campus. Tuition doesn’t cover all the costs the university has to pay, and with inflation those costs continue to increase each year. In order to combat the majority of these costs the university increases tuition.
Many students have recommended a tuition lock to end current student frustrations about the enviable tuition increases each year. The university has done a tuition lock in the past.
Donahue said, “From the 2019-2020 year into 2020-2021 year, OWU held the tuition constant. That was something we did do, unlike many of our peers who raised tuition that year.”
She also understands that tuition lock is a concept that “students would welcome.’
Minton reiterates this stance by saying, “It’s very unreliable and unfair how much we have to pay more and more without being communicated very well. I think keeping tuition at a set price for everyone would make sense and even be more reasonable.”
Tuition costs can be a stressful topic for both students and the university. Remember to reach out to the financial aid office if there are any concerns or questions about financial aid packages and tuition.