Bowdoin hikes tuition
In an effort to combat budget shortfalls, Bowdoin College plans to raise tuition fees by five percent over the next academic year. For the 2003-2004 academic year, students will be paying $37,790, rather than $35,990 to attend Bowdoin. Currently, tuition fees account for 49 percent of the College's revenue and the increase will add an additional $2 million to the College's revenue.
President Barry Mills said trustees were very concerned with tuition increases and "trustees understand the economic conditions of the country" in regards to the burden tuition places on families and the financial aid budget.
Although the proposed fee is expected to remain competitive among similar colleges for 2003-2004, Bowdoin ranked third in its 22 College comparison group for 2002-2003; the group includes colleges such as Middlebury, Trinity, and Hamilton, as well as Bates and Colby. Amherst topped the tuition bill with $36,098, and Swarthmore came in a close second with $36,092.
Overall, the degree to which numerous private colleges are attempting to balance their budgets appears comparable to that of Bowdoin. According to the Daily Princetonian, Princeton's "new budget also projected undergraduate fees to rise 4.5 percent to $36,649 and 52 percent of students would be on financial aid."
Although most public schools will not release their anticipated budget decreases until the fall, the Bush administration has remained committed to supplying $756 million for public universities in anticipation of rising tuition costs and to "help ensure America's parents have more choice for their children."
Rising tuition costs are nothing new for the Bowdoin community, however. Over the past five years, Bowdoin student fees have increased by 19.3 percent, which makes Bowdoin rank sixth among the 22 comparison group colleges. Grinnell ranks number one with an increase of 25.1 percent while Williams ranks last by only increasing their fees by 11.1 percent.
Despite the rising tuition costs, Bowdoin is committed to its need-blind admission policy which helps to attract the best students and improve the diversity of the student body. To combat rising financial aid costs associated with an increase in tuition, the college has dedicated $1.5 million to an unrestricted fund. In addition, the College's goal is to boost the Financial Aid endowment by $35 million and Bowdoin is well on its way to reach that goal. Currently, the College has received $20.3 million in cash and $8.8 million in commitments.
This year 40 percent of the student body is receiving an average of $23,000 in grant money to help pay for their stay at Bowdoin.
Grant money is currently being distributed to 717 students, including those who study abroad. However, over the next academic year, student loans and aid packages are likely to share some of the burden of increasing costs. This could mean an increase in loans and a decrease in grant money.
When looking at similar colleges, Bowdoin is still competitive when it comes to discount rates on tuition. During the 2000-2001 academic year, Bowdoin's discount rate was 20.2 percent. Amherst gave the most, with a discount rate of 26.4 percent, while Colby gave the least with at rate of 19 percent.
The good news for those on financial aid is that a proposal increases grant aid by 6.5 percent during the next academic year. This means that the total aid budget is expected to reach $14.5 million by next year.