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Tuition to rise 3.7 percent

Published: April 4, 2014
Section: News, Top Stories


This week, Brandeis announced a 3.7-percent tuition increase, one that has been approved by the Board of Trustees.

“While we know very well that no increases are welcome, this keeps the increase substantially below the level envisioned in the strategic plan; both the Board and the administration are very sensitive to the need to control, insofar as possible, the cost of a Brandeis University education,” reads an official statement released to Brandeis media this week. The statement highlighted the university’s efforts on improving efficiency and cost effectiveness across all operations.

The statement also reads, “Thanks to our improved efficiency and committed donors, we have exceeded our annual target, and the Board is able to reflect that in our student charges for next year.” In an interview with The Hoot this week, Ellen de Graffenreid, senior vice president for communications, affirmed that indeed, this signifies that while Brandeis will increase tuition, financial aid will grow as well. “We expect that financial aid will increase proportionally to costs, thanks to the generosity of Brandeis’ donors and friends and to savings that we are finding in other parts of university operations.”

The original increase as envisioned by the strategic plan was at least 4 percent. De Graffenreid compared the official 3.7 percent increase for the 2014-2015 school year to other competitor schools, such as Tufts and Boston University. “We know that Tufts has estimated a similar increase. BU announced a 3.9 overall cost increase,” she said.

Graffenreid justified the increase in this way: “No increase in costs is welcome, although it is critical that we maintain the quality of a Brandeis education. The cost to provide this kind of education is significantly greater than the tuition that is charged to Brandeis students,” she said.

According to the statement, the increase is expected to aid in a number of efforts, from upgrading buildings to hiring new faculty. These new efforts include the promise to accelerate “employer outreach in the Hiatt Career Center as we seek to build on our exceptional 95-percent placement rate within six months of graduation” and the expansion of “our student offices in community services and LGBTQ services, responding to specific requests by our student body.” Other new initiatives include upgrading lecture halls, the new building for the Lemberg Childcare Center and several “dynamic” faculty hires.

The statement also highlighted the in-the-works installment of Chris Burden’s art. Burden is a world-renowned performance and installation artist. “We will also see the addition of true regional landmark with the installation of a massive light sculpture outside the Rose Art museum by renowned artist Chris Burden,” the statement reads. “The Burden sculpture was commissioned exclusively with restricted art acquisition funds.”

Perhaps the most anticipated upcoming installation is not of Burden’s art but of improvements to residential dorms. “[We will be] continuing our investment in campus infrastructure with a long-anticipated renovation of the Usdan dining area, as well as refurbishing the Foster Mods, part of the Ziv residence halls,” the statement reads.

“At least my tuition money is going to affect me, as I’m living in Ziv. It will directly benefit me. If it’s something like that its OK with me,” said Fay Laborio ’16, a Health: Science, Society and Policy (HSSP) and Anthropology major and varsity swim team member. Later in an interview with The Hoot, Laborio also expressed worry about the increase.

“I also don’t know if I can afford that,” she said. “College is expensive to begin with. You can’t do anything without a college education now, so I don’t really have a choice.”