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Tuition to be raised by 3.5 percent

(Wikimedia Commons)
(Wikimedia Commons)

On March 14, President DeCoudreaux announced a 3.5 percent increase in tuition for the 2014-2015 year — raising the tuition to $41,618 from its current cost of $40,210 for a full-time undergraduate.

Tammi Jackson, vice president of finance, stressed that it is still the College’s goal to keep Mills “accessible and affordable.”

“We strive to build a balanced budget that is centered on our core mission and furthers our strategic plan,” Jackson said in an email. “The tuition increase will assist with maintaining high academic rigor of our institution and in the classroom, while enriching the student experience.”

The national increase for private institutions is 3.8 percent, and other liberal arts schools in the west have an average increase of 4.1 percent. Mills remains below all averages, national and regional. According to President DeCoudreuax’s email to the College, the Board of Trustees of the College approved the new increases in tuition for next year in order to “keep Mills as affordable as possible” while adjusting to the new cost of “providing the highest-quality education.”

In addition, the email stated that the housing and meal plans will also experience an increase. Residence plans will go up by 2.5 percent, while meal plans will go up by 2 percent.  The health insurance fee will also be going up from $3,600 to $3,960. This coming year, however, there will be two lower scale options, each with less benefits and available at a lower cost.

The M Center. (Photo by Abbey Flentje)
The M Center. (Photo by Abbey Flentje)

According to the email, 95 percent of undergraduate students received financial aid in 2013-2014, the average package being $37,959. The message made no mention of whether or not more aid would be given in 2014-2015. However, it did suggest filling out FAFSA forms and talking to the Mills’ Office of Financial Aid to “maximize” options.

First-year Christine Mumm wanted to know if there would be more aid given, rather than just loans.

“It’s already a huge sacrifice to be here, and the higher the prices go, the less accessible education is,” Mumm said.

This increase concerns many students as they are worried whether they can continue their education here. Sophomore Dani Sherman is one such student.

“The incline in tuition year after year is a difficult situation because students, especially ones past their first year, are stuck because it’s really too late to transfer out to a cheaper option,” Sherman wrote in an email. “I would like to see a breakdown or complete explanation as to where the increase is coming from and what it is covering because just hearing we’re increasing our tuition less than other schools are raising theirs by isn’t good enough, in my opinion.”

Comic strip about the tuition increase by Cartoonist Beck Levy.
Comic strip about the tuition increase by Cartoonist Beck Levy.

President DeCoudreaux reaffirmed Mills’ mission in light of this tuition increase in an email she sent to the Campanil.

“In establishing tuition rates, Mills always remains committed to affordability and accessibility and continues to do everything in its power to keep tuition and fee increases as minimal as possible,” President DeCoudreaux stated in the email.

Attached to the email sent out by the President is a full list of the differing prices for the coming 2014-2015 year, which can be viewed below and at the link