Tuition to rise 3.7 percent

As college costs continue to rise, the Allegheny Board of Trustees approved a 3.76 percent increase in tuition for the 2010-2011 academic year, said President James Mullen in a letter to faculty Feb. 10.

Next year, students will pay approximately $1,250 more than the current total of $42,000 to attend Allegheny College.


The cost of attending Allegheny has steadily risen within the past 30 years.

In the 1980-1981 academic year, students paid a total of  $6,700 to attend Allegheny.  When this cost is adjusted for inflation, the total is still only $17,335 and half of what students in the 2009-2010 academic year are paying.

Similarly, in real dollars -which are adjusted for today’s inflation- students in 1990 were paying approximately $29,182.

Within the past decade alone, costs increased over $10,000.

Besides inflation, there are other reasons for an increase.

Scott Friedhoff, vice president of enrollment and communications, said it’s “philosophical.”

“Every year at this time when we meet, the question is: what do we owe our students?” Friedhoff said. “How do we continue to provide an exceptional educational experience that improves each year? And doing that costs money.”

Students are looking for more specific answers.

“I’d just like to know where it’s going,” said Erick Nevin, ’11.

“They just redid the sidewalk and bricks on the walk near Carr Hall,” said Mirno Pasquali, ’12. “I just think that’s not a smart way to spend money in times of economic distress when we’re all struggling to pay tuition.”

Friedhoff said that with expenses going up, there is a need for an increase in costs from year to year.

“Things like utilities go up, equipment expenses go up,” Friedhoff said.
“The costs of benefits for employees whether for something as seemingly menial as health insurance – those expenses go up as well.”

An increase in tuition happens everywhere, every year, according to Friedhoff.

“The question is not whether to increase, it is to what extent to increase,” he said.

This year’s increase in tuition is actually the lowest year-to-year increase in the past decade.

As tuition rises, Allegheny is also offering more opportunities for financial aid to students.

According to the Financial Aid web site, Allegheny offered $30 million worth of grant and scholarship aid during the 2009-2010 academic year.

Friedhoff said that while tuition will increase about 3.8 percent for the 2010-2011 academic year, financial aid will increase about 4.9 percent.

“The reason we are able to do that is because we have such a loyal and generous base of alumni who donate back to the college every year to allow us to provide the financial aid students need to be able to attend this great place,” Friedhoff said. “We are very fortunate, very blessed to have that loyal alumni base.”

While this aid is taken into consideration, many more students will also receive grants and scholarships, therefore decreasing their overall costs, even while the comprehensive fee of attending Allegheny will increase.