BY NICK IRONSIDE // NOV. 7, 2012 //
Knowledge might be power, but it still comes at a cost. Here at Curry, that cost has increased by an average of $1,300 a year over the last four years alone.
In all, the cost of attendance for a full-time residential student—excluding PAL and before taking into account residence hall damage fees—has shot up nearly $5,500 in the past four years. This year alone, tuition has increased $1,200, while room and board has increased $530.71. Not counting the cost of PAL, which can run upward of $10,000 a year, tuition, fees, room and board now total $46,225 a year for traditional undergraduates. The price for commuter students is $33,465.
And according to Curry Chief Financial Officer Rich Sullivan, the rate and size of increases aren’t likely to slow anytime soon.
“I would expect that the higher education industry, which includes Curry, will have modest increases in the future,” said Sullivan. “It’s a very competitive environment. There’s a general wish to raise the quality of the college, both inside and outside the classroom. There has been continuous improvement, and we want to raise the bar.”
Even continuing education students have seen costs go up. Through the summer of 2011, continuing education students paid $380 per credit for classes after 4 p.m. and on weekends. The college now charges $420 per credit.
Sullivan said the college has invested heavily in student financial aid, which has also increased in recent years. According to Sullivan, 87 percent of full-time undergraduates receive some form of aid from Curry. The “average total Curry grant/scholarship for those students receiving such aid is approximately $13,500,” Sullivan wrote in an email.
There are approximately 1,900 full-time undergraduates at Curry.
“We’re trying to work as efficiently as possible while being as effective as possible, too,” Sullivan said. “It’s very much a balancing act with the budget.”
But not every private college in America is raising its prices. In fact, several private colleges are cutting or freezing tuition. For example, Franklin Pierce University (Rindge, N.H.) is froze its tuition as of the fall of 2012. Cabrini College (Radnor, Penn.) cut its tuition by 12.5 percent this academic year, and promised students tuition wouldn’t rise above $30,000 before 2015. Concordia University (St. Paul, Minn.) plans to cut its undergraduate tuition by $10,000, and the University of the South (Sewanee, Tenn.), also known as Sewanee, cut its tuition by 10 percent last fall and promised to keep the tuition unchanged during the next four years for freshmen entering this fall.
Despite the rising costs at Curry, some students said they are largely pleased with how the college is spending its money. “I think Curry’s doing a decent job with budgeting,” said junior communication major Sam D’Arrigo. “However, I think money could be put toward things that are better for the college. Working on some of the dorms, broadening the food horizons…things such as those are necessary to work on.”
Freshman Crispin Arkinstall, an undecided major, thinks the college is already too expensive and that Curry needs to cap tuition.
“It’s hard to see my family sacrificing so much for me to come to college already, and raising the tuition fee will be an even bigger struggle for my family,” he said.
A recent report by the Institute for College Access & Success, a California-based nonprofit, found that Curry students graduated with an average of about $41,000 in debt, the third-highest debt load among students from Massachusetts private colleges and universities.
Curry Student Government Association President Corey Theodore said his organization wasn’t planning on looking into the rising costs of attending Curry, but would if students wanted it to.
“If there’s enough student interest, we’ll act on anything the students want,” said Theodore. “It’s not up to us. If students are upset about it, they should come forth.”