The price of a College term will increase by only 2.74 percent
in 1998–99—the smallest increase in three decades.
Room and board charges will remain the same as in the 1997–98 academic
year, at $7,606, and tuition will increase by just 3.69 percent
to $22,902. Including tuition and room and board, the term bill
for the upcoming academic year will total $30,508.
The U of C’s decision to limit increases in the price of an education
is part of a national trend. The Chronicle of Higher Education reported
in March that many institutions, including Yale and Harvard, are
raising tuition by only 2.5 to 4 percent next year, representing
the lowest in-creases for these schools in the last 20 or 30 years.
Michael Behnke, U of C vice president and associate dean of the
College for enrollment, attributes the low increases in tuition
at the U of C to three forces: a desire to be responsive to the
public’s concerns about the price of a college education; a balanced
budget achieved by controlling the University’s costs; and the institution’s
current overall financial health.
“The College endowment has done very well this past year,” he says.
“Some of that ought to be shared with the students and families.”
Room and board fees stayed the same, Behnke says, to try to keep
the U of C’s charges more in line with other institutions’.
Unlike Princeton, Stanford, and Yale, schools that are changing
their financial-aid policies for the coming year in hopes of attracting
more middle-class students, the U of C does not see a need to alter
its financial-aid policy, which already attracts many middle-class
students, Behnke says. The U of C—which offers 62 percent of its
undergraduates financial aid, compared to Princeton’s 41 percent,
Stanford’s 44 percent, and Yale’s 40 percent—will continue to offer
financial aid to undergraduates based on the standard needs-analysis
formula used by most other selective private universities, according
to Behnke. In the 1997– 98 academic year, College students received
a total of $25 million in financial aid from the University. The
average amount, including grants, loans, and work-study, was $20,522,
with an average grant award of $16,767.
“We are proud that we are able to continue making admission decisions
without regard to financial need,” says U of C President Hugo F.