As stacks of paper pile on the desks in the finance department, Quinnipiac University administrators are studying budget plans to decide next years tuition cost. The expense is high, but the tuition money is fairly allocated throughout the university.
The current tuition is $19,000 and the student fee is $890. The tuition increases to cover rising costs of supplies that the university requires.
In a cause and effect relationship, the tuition must rise in order to afford other cost increases. The average tuition at a private four year institution in the United States is $17,123 for the year 2001-02. Include room and board and it brings you up to an average of $23,578, according to the Chronicle of Higher Education.
“Room and board varies according to where a student lives,” said Joan Isaac Mohr, vice president and dean of Admissions.
The tuition is used for salaries for staff, faculty and administration, educational programs on campus, new equipment and technology costs such as internet hookups, new computers in the library and updated systems.
“There have been so many problems with the shuttle system and it’s unfair because that’s our money that helps pay for the service,” said sophomore Marina Maxell.
While much of the staff is provided by the university, the kitchen staff is a separate situation. Quinnipiac has a contract with Chartwells, who provides staff from their company.
Quinnipiac is divided into separate departments including academic affairs, business affairs, institutional affairs, development/alumni affairs, public affairs, student affairs, information and technology systems and admissions.
Each department receives a budget based on expenses for the following year. Budget packets are sent to each group with an allowance of an approximate 2 percent budge increase. A desired budget proposal is then submitted and evaluated.
The individual groups have a vice president in charge and make up The President’s Cabinet. They evaluate the proposals and discuss tuition. The process goes on from November to February, when the new prices are approved.
The majority of tuition is spent in the academic area to provide quality educational programs and the second highest amount is allocated towards technology.
“We work so hard to get good grades and then we have to contend to tuition costs once we get accepted to a school,” said Andrew Rokeal, junior.
According to the Chronicle of Higher Education, in 2001, the number of top leaders earning $500,000 or more in pay and benefits more than doubled since the previous year, according to the annual survey of private-college compensation.
Lynn Bushnell, vice president of Public Affairs, said the university does not comment on employees’ salaries.
Tuition pays for various factors to ensure success on campus. The revenue is allocated to support different entities that offer a wide range of activities and organizations and to provide a quality of life for students.
“I feel like we go to one of the most expensive universities. We probably pay so much because we’re private,” said secior Nicole Brown.
Actually, Quinnipiac usually falls right in the middle of tuition costs. Quinnipiac University surveys peer institutions and questions their current tuition. Tuition is then determined based on the mid-range of other school’s information. The current budget is used to determine the increase and the board of trustees approves the final number in February.
Patrick Healy, senior vice president of Finance and Administration, told The Chronicle earlier this year that Quinnipiac compares itself with Ithaca College, Hofstra University, Fairfield University and Boston University.
We do a comparative study of other colleges and universities that we have a shared applicant pool with,” Healy said. “We look at what the marketplace rate is.”
Healy explained that there are three main parts in determining the tuition. The first part contains collected budgets from the university, known as operating budgets.
Healy said that tuition goes up between three to three and a half percent every year.
“People always want more than what we have in the budget,” Healy said.
He said that compromises have to be made to satisfy as many desires as possible.
The second determinant is the Financial Aid budget, which Healy said is a very important one, since it is closely connected to the price of tuition. If tuition increases, more aid must be present. Mohr is in charge of this budget.
“She has a feel for what the price is at other schools, and we debate what we think is reasonable,” Healy said.
The third factor is room and board.
Another important component is the amount of incoming freshman which therefore impacts the tuition costs. The money used from freshman tuition helps decide the amount of money there is to spend throughout the following year.
“We don’t increase tuition just to increase it, we increase it to help us cover our increased expenses such as the cost of utilities, supplies and equipment,” said Lucille Marottolo, assistant to the senior vice president for Finance and Administration.