The University of La Verne’s Board of Trustees is scheduled to meet today to make a decision on a 2.9% tuition increase for the 2024-2025 academic year.
The proposed increase would amount to $1,400 per student for the year, making the total tuition for traditional undergraduate students $49,700.
In 2021-2022 tuition remained unchanged at $45,850. In 2022-2023 it increased by 2.51% making tuition $47,000. The current academic year saw a 2.7% increase – amounting to $1,300 – making tuition $48,300.
Eric Bishop, interim vice president of enrollment management, said the increase represents the cost of doing business since the University is a tuition-dependent institution.
In recent years tuition increases have been lower than the rate of inflation, which was 7.8% between 2021 and 2022, and 3.2% between 2022 and 2023.
“We certainly didn’t want to increase tuition at the same rate of inflation,” said Roy Kwon, interim provost and vice president of academic affairs. “But at the same time, just being mindful of the fact that inflation has been increasing, we’ve been thinking through what the best approach might be with tuition.”
The University has experienced a decline in enrollment in recent years, based on generational trends.
“The goal is to try to mitigate the loss in terms of inflation and cost of living,” Bishop said. “Employee compensation, all of those things, figure into the operating budget.”
Rick Hasse, instructor of accounting and finance, and chairman of the faculty budget and compensation committee, said the University’s main expenses are wages and compensation along with scholarships, so it has to find ways of squeezing every dollar without laying off faculty.
“We have to stay in touch and have to pay our people and have to provide the quality of education that you demand for your tuition dollars,” he said. “We would not be able to do it unless we give raises and supplement those costs with inflation, so it’s a very difficult scenario.”
Hasse added the University has to be honest and transparent with students that they are getting value and getting their money’s worth when the University asks them to pay more.
“We need to (show) that we’re doing the best we can to provide value,” Hasse said.
Bishop said some of the things they will be working on with the Associated Students of University of La Verne to make sure students receive value will be increasing hours at the Wilson Library, the Lewis Health Center, and the student health center.
Hasse said the bottom line is that the University needs to manage its costs, so increases are necessary, but it has to make sure that the value and quality of the education is getting better for the students in order for increases to be OK.
“If we don’t do that, and we still cut back the library hours, lower our quality of foods in our dining halls, lower janitorial services, and the quality of the departments and the quality of the faculty suffers, then if I were a student I might be wanting to look elsewhere, because it’s not happening here,” Hasse said. “Those are the key issues of this process and the key issues that students should look at.”
Samira Felix can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.