Wellesley’s cost increases by $ 3,000
Year after year, the College has steadily increased the total cost of school attendance, and the 2021-2022 school year was no exception. The administration chose to increase tuition, room and board fees for a total increase of $ 2,820 during the 2021-2022 school year, joining dozens of other colleges, such as Juilliard and Harvard. . The cost of attending Wellesley is now $ 79,040 before financial aid. Some students protested the change as it coincided with the COVID-19 recession, the world’s worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, while others pointed to the school’s $ 2.2 billion endowment as a source potential for subsidies.
For Neeraja Deshpande ‘23 years old, majoring in economics, the change was not surprising.
“The tuition fee increase of a few thousand dollars is part of a larger mechanism that keeps the College running, especially as the College subsidizes all of its students. It costs around $ 100,000 to educate a student for a year, which is more than the tuition for full-wage students. “
According to Deshpande, the reason this cost can be so high is due to the “arms race” in which Wellesley is participating.
“Wellesley doesn’t operate in a vacuum. It operates in a market, ”Deshpande said. “Every college is trying to attract students with new facilities, better food, nicer dorms, etc. And that means higher cost structures.”
According to the 2017 Budgetary Affairs Advisory Committee (BAC) reports, the College has been in a budget deficit for several years. While donations from alumni have enabled the construction of new buildings like the Lulu Chow Wang Campus Center, built in 2004-05, the report states that the maintenance of older buildings is funded solely through the college’s depreciation expenses. , which have only increased in the past years. As the institution faces high costs and a budget deficit, the choice to increase tuition fees has imposed greater economic demand on students, which will affect the lives of students to varying degrees, with special implications for students unable to pay full tuition fees, and caused financial problems for many students.
On March 15, a letter from the President’s office was emailed to all Wellesley families stating that there would be a 3.7% increase in tuition fees for the 2021-2022 academic year. While some, like Deshpande, who had studied similar topics in his economics classes, expected tuition fees to rise, it came as a shock to other students and families.
“I think [Wellesley has] an obligation to tell students and their parents, ”said Wendy *, a rising junior. She had learned about the increase in tuition fees from her mother.
Although Wendy’s family are able to afford the full cost of schooling, she is aware that her school fees are a significant economic demand on her family. Not only are her parents now paying higher tuition fees, but due to a private family arrangement, Wendy is also responsible for paying a percentage of her tuition. While Wendy has always worked to help pay for her tuition, the increase in tuition has made Wendy feel more responsible for working hard and making sure her family can count on her contributions.
The increase in tuition fees has particularly affected students who are unable to afford the full tuition fees, especially low-income students.
Wanda * has been receiving financial support since she began her studies at Wellesley two years ago. She also believes that better communication between the College and students would allow those trying to understand the increase in tuition fees and its personal implications greater transparency.
She first learned about the tuition fee increase when, prior to the issuance of her financial aid for the 2021-22 school year, she noticed a tuition payment being billed to her on the day. open for the school year 2021-22. Neither she nor her family could afford to pay the balance.
“It was very scary at first when I saw this huge number,” Wanda said.
After contacting Student Financial Services (SFS), Wanda received her full financial aid which made Wellesley affordable for her and her family as she was credited to her aid account which was on hold when she noticed for the first time Workday’s higher tuition fees. While she was not sure why her help program was on hold when the accusation surfaced on Workday, according to Wanda the delay could have been due to not meeting the deadline for submitting her help request. financial to SFS. Before receiving her help, Wanda received little information on how the increase in tuition fees would affect her, and she was concerned that as tuition increased, she would be asked to pay tuition fees. higher education than in previous years.
Because SFS has adjusted student aid programs in response to rising tuition fees and economic strains caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, Wanda is now paying less tuition than in 2019, when her first semester at Wellesley.
Amid the concerns of many students and families, SFS was able to provide some students with additional financial support as a result of the Higher Education Emergency Relief Act as part of the US bailout. In her letter announcing the tuition hike, President Paula Johnson assured families of Wellesley’s dedication to making the College affordable, acknowledging the economic implications of the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as the growing national cost of it. Higher Education.
“I want to assure you that we are committed to keeping Wellesley accessible,” Johnson wrote.
However, rising tuition fees have created uncertainty and concern among students. The amount of financial aid available to each student varies. Additionally, students who have already received financial aid but are still unable to meet tuition fees or have since experienced a change in their finances due to the pandemic should appeal to SFS before their aids are considered for modification. In addition to being a concern for students receiving full financial aid, Wanda added that she believes the increase in tuition fees is a major concern for students and families who are not considered eligible for a scholarship. full financial aid but still struggling to meet tuition requests. As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to amplify pre-existing and new barriers to higher education, the decision to increase tuition fees has created another barrier for Wellesley students and families.
*Name changed to protect student’s privacy