Administration explains Allegheny’s tuition increase

This year, students at Allegheny have seen another increase in tuition, which not only affects incoming freshmen, but also returning upper-classmen.

The tuition fee for the 2015-16 school year, including room and board, is $54,742 which is an increase from last year’s cost of $51,210, according to records presented by Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Sue Stuebner.

“Part of my job is to help analyze the data that we have to present a couple of scenarios to the Board of Trustees,” Stuebner said.

Stuebner said the Trustees then decide if the increase is necessary and by what amount is appropriate.

According to the records, tuition alone has generally increased around four percent each year starting in 2010.

Reasons why this is happening vary, according to Stuebner.

“Providing a residential liberal arts education can be pretty cost intensive,” said Stuebner.

From having a student to faculty ratio of 11 to 1 and small classes, to being a residential college with buildings to maintain and factors that cannot be controlled like utilities, food and more, much factors in to a tuition increase.

Stuebner also wanted to point out how Allegheny tries to help lower the cost for its students through scholarships.

“For the average student the college provides over 50 percent in scholarships relative to the tuition price,” Stuebner said.

She said they refer to it as a discount,  so even though the price of tuition is over $54,000, what most students actually pay is less.

“It’s something that we have to monitor so we can make sure the college is affordable for our students,” Stuebner said.

Alexia Porche, ’19, received a scholarship from Allegheny.

“I’m pretty happy with my scholarship and my financial plan for myself, but I think it [the cost] is still a stretch for students,” Porche said.

As an incoming freshman, she admitted that she was not aware of an increase in tuition.

According to the Standard Comparison Group schools, Allegheny is not off-base with their tuition cost and the increase. Other colleges such as Albion College and Lawrence University that are similar to Allegheny have tuition fees close to Allegheny.

With a general 4 percent tuition increase every year, Allegheny is not the only college making these decisions every year and more students than not are being affected by it.

Response to the rise in tuition has been largely negative among students who feel that the increase is unnecessary.  

“It just seems so unchecked, it’s not really set to any number,” said Trey Durst, ’16.

In addition to the perceived arbitrary nature of the increase, students have voiced their dissatisfaction over where the money is being spent. Angeline Sporrer, ’18, said she continues to be dissatisfied with some of the services at Allegheny. She said even with the increase things like cleaning and dining services continue to leave something to be desired.

“The academics are the best they have ever been, I have great professors but it’s the little things,” she said.